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A 'Blue Alert' sent San Antonio and rest of Texas spiraling into a night of anxiety

Chron logo Chron 8/17/2021 Steven Santana

Monday night, a "Blue Alert" pinged phones all across San Antonio, sending people (and Twitter) into a tizzy.

The alert, which hit phones around 11:30 p.m., had very little information other than "Law Enforcement Blue Alert in this area until August 17 12:59AM CDT. Monitor radio or TV." 

Twitter was then set ablaze with panic, questions — and memes.

Along with San Antonio, the alert hit all of Texas' major cities, sending chills across Houston, Dallas, and Austin, too. Texas folks on Twitter spent most of the night trying to figure out what the Blue Alert meant, what situation caused it, and whether they should be concerned. 

Another Twitter user with the handle @Denise4SanAnto, asked why all of these Texas cities received the Blue Alert. 

Steve Vladeck, a law professor at The University of Texas at Austin, tweeted out the different types of public safety alerts that can be pushed to Texas residents' phones. 

Despite the memes, a Blue Alert is a serious notification that is sent out when officers are trying to arrest "violent criminals who kill or seriously wound local, state, or federal law enforcement officers," according to the TxDPS website

The alert was created by former governor Rick Perry in 2008. In order for a Blue Alert to be sent out, the offender must pose a threat to the public, and the offender's vehicle, vehicle tag, or partial tag must be broadcast to the public. 

The Blue Alert was for the shooting of a Clay County sheriffs deputy Monday night, according to a Tweet from the Belton Police Department. 

The Blue Alert was sent out for a white four-door Cadillac with a possible broken rear-window and bullet holes. 

Clay County Sheriff Jeff Lyde said in a Facebook Live broadcast last night that the man allegedly shot Deputy Breanton Chitwood during an attempted traffic stop yesterday evening in Jolly, Texas. 

Lyde says in the video that authorities believe the man may have been shot before he fled. He says law enforcement cast a wide net to try and catch the suspect, but have not caught the man as of Tuesday morning. 

Lyde said Chitwood was expected to survive his wounds. 

It's not clear if the Blue Alert was supposed to be sent as far as San Antonio or why it was only until a certain time. MySA reached out to TxDPS for clarification but did not hear back by time of publication. 

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