UTEP President Diana Natalicio released a statement Sunday night stating that campus police are investigating a single bullet that struck a campus building sometime on Saturday evening, Aug. 21. UTEP Police believe the bullet may be related to a shootout between Juarez, Mexico police and cartel members that occurred at the same time.
The shootout happened between 6:10 p.m. and 6:40 p.m. Saturday and resulted in the temporary closure of Paisano Drive from Executive Center to Santa Fe Street in El Paso. One person was killed in the shootout in Juarez. There were no reported injures in El Paso.
UTEP's investigation revealed that a single bullet struck the south door of Bell Hall, went through the glass panel in the door and was found embedded in an office doorframe. There were no reported injuries.
This appears to be the only stray bullet to have struck the campus, and there is no evidence to suggest that UTEP was specifically targeted, UTEP officials said. See a map of UTEP's campus here.
Natalicio said in a statement that UTEP Police will continue investigating the incident and consult with appropriate law enforcement officials and other governmental entities concerning risk assessment strategies and possible further security precautions.
UTEP students, faculty, and staff are encouraged by university officials to sign up for Mobile Campus Alerts. The alerts are issued via text messages whenever there is an emergency notification issued by the UTEP Police Department. Signing up is free. Students, faculty and staff need to log on to my.utep.edu and click on the My Home tab. It will automatically ask if they would like to sign up for this service. UTEP also plans to send out a campus bulletin via email alerting all faculty, staff and students of this service.
The fall semester begins at UTEP on Monday.
This is the second time this summer that a bullet from a Juarez shootout has hit a building in El Paso. At about 5 p.m. June 29, a bullet traveled through a ninth floor window of El Paso City Hall, then through an interior wall, before striking a picture frame and stopping. Further investigation revealed that the north and south stucco walls of City Hall were struck by an additional six rounds at varying heights on the walls.
El Paso City Hall does not appear to be the specific target of these rounds. City employees were inside City Hall during this incident. There were no reported injuries in El Paso from this incident.