A ‘Blue Alert’ threw San Antonio and the rest of Texas into a panicked night

A “Blue Alert” rang out across San Antonio on Monday night, sending residents (and Twitter) into a frenzy. Other than that, the notice, which went out at 11:30 p.m., included very little information “This area is under a Law Enforcement Blue Alert until August 17 at 12:59 a.m. CDT. Keep an eye on the radio or television.”

The alarm was sent to all of Texas’ main cities, including Houston, Dallas, and Austin, in addition to San Antonio. Texas residents spent most of the night on Twitter attempting to find out what the Blue Alert meant, what triggered it, and whether or not they should be concerned.

Another Twitter user, @Denise4SanAnto, enquired as to why all of these Texas cities had been issued the Blue Alert. The several forms of public safety notifications that can be pushed to Texas residents’ phones were tweeted out by Steve Vladeck, a law professor at The University of Texas at Austin.

As per the TxDPS website, a Blue Alert is a significant message sent out when officers are attempting to apprehend “violent offenders who kill or badly harm local, state, or federal law enforcement officials.” Rick Perry, the former governor of Texas, developed the alert in 2008. The criminal must constitute a threat to the public, and the offender’s car, vehicle tag, or partial tag must be broadcast to the public for a Blue Alert to be issued.

According to a tweet from the Belton Police Department, the Blue Alert was issued in response to the shooting of a Clay County sheriff’s deputy on Monday night. A Blue Alert was issued for a white four-door Cadillac with potential bullet holes and a smashed back window.

In a Facebook Live broadcast Friday night, Clay County Sheriff Jeff Lyde stated the guy reportedly shot Deputy Breanton Chitwood during an attempted traffic stop in Jolly, Texas.

Authorities suspect the victim was shot before fleeing, according to Lyde in the video. He claims that law enforcement cast a wide net in an attempt to apprehend the culprit, but that the individual has yet to be apprehended as of Tuesday morning. Chitwood was expected to survive his wounds, according to Lyde.

It’s unclear whether the Blue Alert was designed to be sent all the way to San Antonio or why it was only valid for a limited period of time. TxDPS was contacted by MySA for clarification, but no response was received at the time of publication.