A few minutes after 8 p.m. Tuesday, many UT students received a text or email alert concerning a shooter in the Fort Sanders neighborhood.

Macee Peterkin knew about the shooting already – she had been shot.

A senior in food science and technology, Peterkin was one of two victims found wounded at the Highland Terrace Apartments complex on 13th Street and Highland Avenue, according to a release Wednesday from the Knoxville Police Department.

She is also the first UT student shot in the Fort since University of Tennessee Police Department Chief Troy Lane took office in July 2012.

KPD spokesman Darrell DeBusk said Peterkin, 21, and the other victim, Aundre Bufond, 21, are expected to survive their injuries.

The suspected shooter, Brandon Middlebrook, a 25-year-old Knoxville man, was discovered a few minutes later near the corner of 21st Street and Highland, eight blocks from the crime scene. No motive is clear yet, but KPD did report the discovery of 2 oz. of marijuana, a multitude of plastic bags and digital scales in the apartment where shots were fired.

Though nobody died in the shooting, the local violence had many students discussing the safety of living in Fort Sanders, a neighborhood infamous for seedy activity.

Judd Cowan, a senior in mechanical engineering, lives in Grand Forest Apartments on 17th Street, an outside-access apartment complex in the Fort. In 2011, two residents of the same complex were shot; one of them, a former UT student, was found dead at the scene.

Despite last night's shooting and the history of his apartment complex, Cowan said he doesn't worry about living in the Fort.

"I actually feel pretty safe living in the Fort because I am not a drug dealer and I partake in the Second Amendment," Cowan said.

The University of Tennessee Police Department has made a mission of spreading Cowan's feeling of safety.

Notable initiatives include: a 16th Street Safety Corridor with added streetlights, emergency Blue Phones, additional cameras and residence hall patrols; the T-Link late night shuttle service, which provides free rides to stranded students; and the UT Alert text messaging system.

UTPD also posts crime logs to Twitter using the handle @UTPolice. Tuesday, when one student criticized the department for sending an email about the shooter alert an hour after it happened, the account responded within six minutes, explaining that the emailed "Safety Notice" is received by all UT NetID holders, while the "UT Alert" only goes to those who opt in.

Despite all of UTPD's safety precautions, Chief Lane acknowledges the presence of danger around campus on the UTPD website.

"The University of Tennessee, Knoxville, is a relatively safe campus," he writes in his Chief's Message. "However, we are just like every other campus in the nation, and are not immune to criminal activity." 

Criminal activity like Tuesday's shooting has Leslie Cox, a senior in journalism and electronic media, second-guessing her residential options for next fall. She said that, although she believes danger can occur at any time or any place, the shooting decreased her interest in a housing location near Tuesday's crime scene.

"My friend that lives in that apartment complex of the shootings has blood outside his front porch," she said. "That's scary and wild to think about."

 

RELATED LINKS

KPD to charge Fort Sanders shooting suspect

Offical police report

Three wounded in Fort Sanders shooting

Students concerned about safety, communication

Students concerned about guns allowed on campus

UTPD offers safety classes to Clement students

UT prepares faculty, staff for emergencies