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Police: CCSU Lockdown May Have Been A Halloween Costume Mishap

Officials said three people are in custody for questioning after reports of a man in camouflage with apparent weapons led to a lockdown and SWAT response at the university on Monday.

Via Twitter
Via Twitter
By Jason Vallee

Campus police have taken three people into custody for questioning after multiple people reported a man with a sword and possibly a handgun running toward James Hall on the Central Connecticut State University campus Monday. 

The three have all been forthcoming with officers and no weapons were found in their possession after a complex response that included assistance from three SWAT teams from throughout the region, CCSU Police Chief Chris Cervoni said.

"The three were located in James Hall on the fourth floor," Cervoni said. "The suspect was seen running, which caused alarm to several people who reported the incident. We are looking into whether it may be a Halloween costume."

New Britain Police Chief James Wardwell said the department received emergency calls "from multiple students" who witnessed a man get off a bus on Stanley Street wearing camouflage and carrying what appeared to be a samurai sword, as well as a backpack and possibly a handgun. He then began walking, then running before heading to James Hall, a suite-style residence hall on the south side of campus. 

Wardwell said CCSU police were notified and several agencies mobilized SWAT units in response. CCSU took the lead on the investigation, he said.

The name of the man, who was located without incident along with two others as they were leaving a room, has not been released. No charges have been filed at this time, Cervoni said. 

Cervoni said video surveillance, including cameras monitoring the entrance to the dorms, was used to identify the suspect. The man is a CCSU student, he said, though he was unable to comment further on the two people with the man.

"We have them entering the building," he said. "I've received pictures and there was what appeared to be a sword-like item as initially called in."

No injuries were reported and no threats made, police said. James Hall was evacuated floor by floor as part of the SWAT response. Nearby HALS Academy and Holmes Elementary schools were placed into a modified lockdown after the "campus emergency," according to officials. 

FBI and Homeland Security were also notified as part of the response. The lockdown was lifted around 3 p.m., after nearly three hours. It is believed the student should have received an alert but police said he did not immediately notify them he may be the suspect. 

Cervoni said the school will certainly look at the response to see if proper protocol is in place. 

Gov. Dannel P. Malloy praised the response, saying that state and local officials mobilized quickly and were able to create a safe barrier to protect others in case the event became violent. 

He said the incident also shows the importance of residents taking an active role in their safety. 

"While there was no act of violence today, the actions taken once these reports came in are exactly why it is so important to say something if you see something," Malloy said. "Unfortunately, incidents like these will occur, but today showed us the ideal way for them to conclude — with no one seriously harmed.”
Thomas Johnson November 05, 2013 at 11:57 AM
Those kids were very lucky indeed that the cops didn't shoot first and ask questions later as is the usual police response. "Kill 'em all and let god sort 'em out" is now the default position...

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