American University in Washington, D.C., wass locked down on the basis of an armed intruder being reported near the campus according to posts made to Twitter by the school’s security police department. They issued advice to students and anyone else on campus to lock their doors and stay away from windows. For anyone outside, they advised leaving the campus immediately. Shuttle operations on campus had been suspended, and police responded first to investigate the area.
According to Reuters, no shots were reported as fired. It was not believed to be an active shooter scenario; however, all students and staff were still encouraged to take extreme precautions. According to ABC 7, the state of alert was a precautionary measure. It is believed a person was spotted with a gun on or near Nebraska Avenue and New Mexico Avenue. Metropolitan Police and American University police conducted a building-by-building search, along with the Secret Service. Campus roads were closed to seal off the area in accordance with the Metro PD S.O.P.
It was never made public if the man alleged to have a gun was located during the search by any of the investigative teams. About three hours after the alert was triggered, campus police issued a statement on Twitter that the are was secure and everyone could go back about their business. There is no word at this time if classes and campus activities will be resuming as normally scheduled.
AU Alert: ALL CLEAR. SEARCHES HAVE CONCLUDED. ALL BUILDINGS AND GROUNDS ARE NOW DEEMED SECURE. LOCKDOWN RELEASED. UNIVERSITY IS RETURNING TO NORMAL OPERATIONS.— American University (@AmericanU) July 18, 2018
According to WTOP, as many as 120 children as young as 6 who were attending the Jr. Wizards Summer Basketball Camp at AU’s Bender Arena were trapped in place during the event. The kids were informed that a fire drill was taking place to help keep them calm. They were later reunited with their families at the nearby National United Methodist Church. The lockdown lasted for approximately three hours. There were no reports of problems related to the lock-down. In a statement released after the area was cleared and deemed safe to return to, the university issued a statement to the press.
“Our number one priority is the safety and well-being of those in our community and exercising a high degree of caution is paramount”.
Neither American University police, the Secret Service, nor local authorities have not issued any further statements discussing if the tip that there was an armed intruder is being investigated as legitimate or not. No one has turned over information regarding the identity of the armed suspect.