URI campus lock down lifted, no gunman found - ABC6 - Providence, RI and New Bedford, MA News, Weather

URI campus lock down lifted, no gunman found

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Dee DeQuattro

ddequattro@abc6.com

The University of Rhode Island lock down has been lifted. The campus was placed on lock down on Thursday after reports of an active shooter on the campus.

State Police say there was no evidence to substantiate the report and no gun or gunman was found.

"At no time was there ever and active shooter and at no time was the campus ever in any danger," said State Police.

Chafee Hall was immediately evacuated and the campus was locked down when the reports came in.

The URI website directed students to "seek shelter and stay where you are until further updates." The university President David Dooley said the website went down as it experienced heavy traffic after the lock down but said he was pleased with the quick response of the university on social media and on cell phone. Dooley said the website got 1 million hits a minute during the incident. 

Police searched Chafee Hall and found no evidence of a gun or any shooter. State Police say they have no reason to believe that the campus was ever at any risk or that there was ever a gun on campus.

They confirm locating a nerf gun in a backpack in a classroom but believe it may have been there as part of a campus wide game: "Human vs. Zombies." Students say the game is ongoing on the URI campus but players are not permitted to play inside buildings, classrooms, or in the dining hall.

State Police had 25 troopers on the campus and 3 or 4 canine units on the campus during the incident. Police continue to conduct interviews to figure out what caused the scare.

State Police said one professor said he heard a man say "I have a gun and I am a nice guy." The professor called police immediately after hearing the statement. Police are still investigating who, if anyone said it.

A student, Kayla Gilmore tells ABC6 that a person knocked on her classroom's door and said they had a gun. Students began to panic and run toward the exits. "Papers and laptops were flying," she said.

Another student, Paige Comstock, said a voice came over the intercom that there was an emergency. She said that students in Chafee hall who were told to evacuate began pushing and shoving each other to try to get out of the building.

Comstock said the evacuation could have been more orderly but it was unpredictable. She commended the university for their quick notification of students via text message.

2 or 3 students experienced minor injuries during the building evacuation said State Police during the post lock down press conference.

Classes will resume as scheduled tomorrow.

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