North Manchester police received a call late Friday night from a man who said he had stabbed his roommate and then entered the university’s Administration Building with a gun and explosives. He also told police he was going to kill himself.
Those threats forced the university into a lockdown. Students were told to stay inside, be quiet, and silence their cellphones. Police searched the entire Administration Building before going from dorm to dorm to look for any suspects or victims.
“We were in a room and we barricaded the door shut because that’s what they said to do. We just kept peeking out the window to see if we could see anything, and it was just scary,” Manchester University freshman Alex Shelton said.
“About 1:00, we woke up and got up out of our beds and there was about three or four sheriffs at the door at every room,” Manchester University junior Ross Dietrich said.
Police and the university didn’t find anyone. Around 3:15 a.m. the university issued an all-clear after deeming the event a hoax.
“We were prepared, and all of our emergency procedures and protocols were followed and implemented effectively,” Vice President for University Engagement Whitney Caudill said.
Students said despite a late night, they felt safe thanks to the university’s constant communication.
“The school was actually sending us emails and they sent emails back to our parents and text messages,” Manchester University sophomore Ola Ladapo said.
‘It is nice to have that social media go to especially in a time like this where you can update it in a matter of seconds and especially when people with the university are updating us as well, and it’s coming from a credible source,” Manchester University junior Jarod Schrock said.
“Social media, electronics, is critical in managing this kind of event,” Caudill said. “We have a person who handles that, coordinates it, and as you saw last night, was on top of things and communicating not just general statements, but when necessary specific responses to people’s concerns and questions.”
The small campus said events like this are extremely rare, but Friday night’s response shows the university’s emergency plan works.
“We have protocol that we use, and last night, we saw that that’s effective and it works,” Caudill said. “Going forward, we’ll do nothing but improve to continue to offer the safest, most effective experience that we can on our campus.”
In the president’s statement, McFadden noted that the university is offering a $2,500 reward for anyone with information that would lead to the caller’s arrest.
The following is the full statement from President Dave McFadden:
Thank you to members of the Manchester University community for their cooperation and patience during the long and stressful evening on the North Manchester campus last night. Safety is our primary concern. We’re thankful students and staff on campus followed MU safety protocols and that this event was found to be a hoax.
Events like this are exceedingly rare on our campus, and I’m pleased our preplanned safety protocols were initiated and worked effectively. No campus is immune from threat in this day and age, and this is why we prepare.
The lockdown was a result of several calls that were made to area police on Friday night by a person claiming to have stabbed his roommate and then gotten inside the Administration Building with a gun and explosives. The University initiated its safety lockdown procedures at 10:48 p.m. and instructed those on campus to shelter in place.
Police from several agencies, aided by Campus Security, searched and determined that no one was inside the Administration Building, which had been specifically named in the threat. Afterward, based on the situation, a door-to-door search of residence halls was initiated — in large part to make sure that there was no stabbing victim. Not all buildings on campus were searched and the all clear was issued at approximately 3:14 a.m.
As with any such incident, we will do an extensive review and make improvements as necessary to prepare for any future event.
We are grateful the threat turned out not to be credible and urge anyone with information about who perpetrated this hoax to call police. Manchester is offering a $2,500 reward leading to the arrest of the person(s) responsible for the false threats to our campus last night.