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NSU and ODU police chiefs discuss safety following mass shooting

Both Chiefs say they want to assure parents they do everything in their power to keep their students safe.

NORFOLK, Va. — As Norfolk State University and Old Dominion University students returned to the classroom after tragedy struck this weekend, campus police want to ensure parents they take safety very seriously.

Early Sunday morning, Norfolk police said someone shot seven people at a house party on Killam Avenue.

Zabre Miller, 25, and Angie McKnight, 19, died. Police have not made any arrests at this point.

RELATED: 2 killed, 5 others injured in overnight shooting at Norfolk house party

Education and fun go hand-in-hand to Old Dominion University Police Chief Garrett Shelton.

"We just do everything we can to keep them safe," he said.

But for some Norfolk State University students, a fun night out turned deadly.

McKnight was a second-year pre-nursing major. NSU said on social media other students were involved in the shooting, calling them innocent bystanders.

"Our thoughts and prayers go out to the family," said NSU Police Chief Brian Covington.

He said although the shooting happened closer to ODU’s campus, their students were involved and they take the safety of their students very seriously.

"Safety is our primary objective for our students here on-campus and off-campus," Covington said.

Over at ODU, Chief Shelton agrees. He said once school starts, they increase police presence, especially on weekend evenings.

One thing that’s in place that he said more people can utilize is their "party safe ability," meaning people living off-campus can register their party with ODU police.

He said some people may be skeptical of telling police exactly where their party is in case people are doing things they shouldn't be, like underage drinking; however, he said they don't come to get anyone in trouble.

ODU police make direct contact with the hosts, so the hosts have a direct line to an officer if things get out of control.

"It’s a give and take. It’s a trust that we’re not going to come close your party down, but we’re there to help you if things get out of hand," Shelton said.

He also noted their on-campus ride-share program, 2,700 cameras in the area and a virtual buddy system called "Lift Safe."

Over at NSU, Covington said students have access to a distress call app called "Everbridge."

As the school year is just getting started, Shelton said he doesn’t think this is an indication of how the rest of the year will go.

"We have to take these incidents when they happen and learn from them."

To the parents, Shelton had this message.

"I tell them, all their our kids too, and while you’re not on campus, we are. We will take the steps necessary to keep them safe. That’s my goal."

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