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EXCLUSIVE: Students Not Alerted to Fugitive On FIU Campus

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WEST MIAMI-DADE (CBS4) – A Florida International University student, and two other men were handcuffed and put in patrol cars in front of the Lakeview Residence Hall Friday evening on the school’s main campus.

Police found pot, and 50 ecstasy pills on the student. And he proved to be too much to handle.

“He got out of the patrol car while he was handcuffed and actually no shoes on,” FIU Police Chief Bill King told CBS4’s Natalia Zea.

Miami-Dade’s K-9 units and helicopter came in to help scour the campus for the escapee.

But most students had no idea what was going on, including those watching the baseball game in the stadium a block away.

Some students are upset the school never sent them a text or email alert that a fugitive was on campus.

“You don’t know what the situation is, you don’t know what they’re capable of,” said Sergio Carrodeguas.

Student Katrina Varela agrees.

“They should keep us informed just like they keep their policemen informed,” she said.

On criminal matters, there is no set criteria on when to sound the alarm, it’s up to FIU police.

Chief King made the call not to send out the alert saying the incident didn’t warrant it.

“Here’s a person that’s non violent is handcuffed, he has no shoes as he’s running trying to escape from the police officers…we searched him and there were no weapons involved.”

Murder suspect Quentin Wyche was not initially armed either, when exactly one year before Friday’s incident police say he grabbed a pair of scissors and stabbed football star Kendall Berry to death on campus. Students didn’t get an alert on that until nearly an hour and a half after the murder, while Wyche ran free.

FIU’s President demanded an an overhaul of the alert system.

Now, a year later students are getting more alerts about many things, including power outages, though they feel the alerts are too inconsistent.

“You’ll know when there’s a power outage cuz you’ll see it but something as serious as someone escaping from police is very serious,” said Carrodeguas.

Still the chief stands by his decision.

“Looking at the totality of the circumstances it didn’t appear that there was any reason to put out an alert.”

In the three days that the escapee eluded police, he contacted an attorney. The student fugitive turned himself in to the FIU Police Department late Monday night. He, and the other two men arrested will face drug charges.

The student who broke out of the patrol car will also be charged with felony escape.

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