EUGENE, Ore. — An armed man was taken into custody Thursday morning on the College of Oregon campus after he allegedly held two college students hostage in a dorm corridor and set off a hearth alarm within the college’s regulation faculty, authorities mentioned..
The suspect, who was not instantly recognized, was taken into custody with out incident after the hostages have been capable of textual content his location within the dorm to police. He was armed with a loaded 9 mm pistol and had further ammunition, UO Police Chief Matt Carmichael mentioned.
The incident began round 3 a.m. Thursday when a hearth alarm was pulled within the UO Knight Legislation Middle. After discovering no proof of fireside, College of Oregon police checked safety digicam footage and noticed an individual pull the alarm whereas holding a gun and “performing erratically,” Carmichael mentioned at 2:30 p.m. Thursday information convention.
Lane County Sheriff’s Workplace, UO, Springfield and Junction Metropolis police responded, locking down and evacuating the constructing.
A search of the constructing was performed by a Sheriff’s Workplace drone crew and a Springfield police canine unit earlier than an alert was despatched out at 6:30 a.m. to the college group asking everybody to keep away from the world, Carmichael mentioned.
“Just a little after the preliminary hearth alarm, we acquired some odd 911 calls,” Carmichael mentioned.
The 911 calls got here from the identical cellphone reporting incidents from completely different areas of campus. College police discovered that the cellphone belonged to a pupil within the Hamilton dorm, and that pupil and one different have been being held of their dorm room in opposition to their will by the suspect, Carmichael mentioned.
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“We shortly decided this particular person had left Knight Legislation College and had gone to Hamilton dorm, the place he detained a pupil and a visitor of their dorm room for a few hours,” he mentioned at a press convention.
After the suspect left the room, the texting from the scholar helped lead police to the suspect, Carmichael mentioned.
The suspect had been utilizing the scholar’s cellphone to position 911 calls, the chief mentioned.
Concern over obscure alert
A campus-wide alert was despatched out a little bit after 6:30 a.m., a number of hours after the incident started, with minimal data aside from “regulation enforcement exercise is happening close to Knight Legislation” and to keep away from the world. An “all clear” alert was despatched out at 8:05 a.m.
Audrey Kalman, a 21-year-old senior on the College of Oregon, mentioned she was upset the varsity did not present extra element informing college students there was an armed suspect detaining individuals of their room.
“I can not think about the expertise of these college students, however even when I have been in that dorm, I might be like, why the hell weren’t we informed this?” Kalman mentioned. “Particularly on a school campus the place individuals are out all hours of the evening. I simply assume it ought to have been communicated to the scholars on the time as a substitute of this obscure ‘regulation enforcement’ factor.”
She mentioned it felt like the varsity was downplaying the incident, and mentioned prior to now alerts have specified what the hazard is extra. On Oct. 31, a college alert warned the group of an armed suspect and gave his description.
Carmichael mentioned the timing of the alert was round when individuals have been starting to come back again onto campus, and that it was at a time when important police presence had the world well-contained.
“The timeliness was according to one, being secure, after which second ensuring individuals are conscious there was a fairly large police presence and we’re on the lookout for this particular person,” he mentioned.
Courses not in Knight Legislation proceeded as regular
College students reported Agate Avenue being blocked off by police automobiles Thursday morning. One custodian mentioned police have been seen going into the regulation constructing with weapons drawn and canines. Witnesses additionally reported not seeing many individuals evacuating because of how early it was.
The entrance desk workers within the regulation faculty constructing declined to touch upon the incident, and the entrance doorways have been unlocked at round 8:40 a.m.
Just a little after 7 a.m. Marcilynn Burke, dean of the College of Oregon’s College of Legislation, informed the regulation faculty group in an e-mail to keep away from the constructing and to keep away from it even after the all-clear message was despatched out.
“In mild of the state of affairs on the regulation faculty, all courses, conferences, and actions needs to be moved on-line (ZOOM) this morning,” Burke added. “Should you can not accomplish that, please plan to reschedule these actions.”
Different courses not within the Knight Legislation constructing have been nonetheless held as regular. Carmichael famous there can be further police presence on campus Thursday evening to make group members really feel safer.
Follwo Louis Krauss on Twitter @LouisKraussNews.