Dear Students, Faculty, and Staff,
I wanted to take a moment to update the campus community on the incident that took place last night.
Members of the UF community gathered in Turlington Plaza around 8:30 p.m. to hold a candlelight vigil in support of Israel. At 8:55 p.m., a woman attending the event began to feel unwell, lost her balance, and fainted. A man next to her asked others to call 911. The distress of the fainting incident was misunderstood by the rest of the crowd, which led to attendants scattering in a panic.
University of Florida Police officers, who were already prepositioned at the event, rushed into the crowd, while others secured the area. Additionally, the University of Florida Gator Emergency Medical Response Unit, made up of student volunteers, was on scene to immediately render aid. Our local partners in the Gainesville Police Department, Alachua County Sheriff’s Office, and Gainesville Fire Rescue also responded quickly to the area.
In the immediate aftermath of the crowd rush, UFPD officers attempted to identify what led to the misunderstanding and panic. While some reportedly heard a “loud sound,” our preliminary investigation was unable to confirm that. However, no foul play or malicious intent is suspected regarding this incident. This appears to be a misinterpretation by event participants who were already in a heightened state of alert, given the circumstances surrounding the vigil.
Five people injured in the rush were treated at the scene for minor injuries. None were taken by ambulance to a hospital. Some individuals were either driven or drove themselves to the hospital for treatment of minor injuries.
In the coming days, you will notice an increased visible presence of UFPD officers on campus. Additionally, members of our Community Services Division will be present around campus to answer questions students may have.
Also, for those of you who lost items during last night’s vigil, I encourage you to stop by our Public Safety building to reclaim your belongings. An officer has been designated to assist in this process.
Finally, please remember that safety is a shared responsibility at the University of Florida. Gators take care of Gators. We understand that everyone is in a heightened state of alert, and we are prepared for that. Please do not hesitate to contact us if you see something suspicious or that seems out of place. If you see something, say something – and do so as quickly as possible. If you have information that requires an urgent response, please call 352-392-1111 and ask to speak with an officer or dial 911. Additionally, you can submit an anonymous tip through our Silent Witness portal.