The URI gunman was not found after police searched room-by-room in a building on the Rhode Island campus following reports of a man spotted with a gun.
The University of Rhode Island campus went into lockdown mode on Thursday after reports of the man carrying a gun in or around Chafee Hall. After a thorough search police said there was no gunman found — and possibly not one at all.
“The Kingston campus lockdown has ended,” the school reported on its Facebook page. “State police have cleared Chafee Hall. The investigation has revealed that at no time was there a gun or an active shooter on the campus.”
After classes were called off on Thursday, URI officials said normal functions would resume on Friday.
There were no reports of shots being fired in the incident, but a phone call to police alerted them about “an active shooter on campus,” said Rhode Island State Police Superintendent Col. Steven O’Donnell.
Students described a scene of confusion within Chafee Hall.
“All of a sudden, we heard someone yell, ‘You’re a nice guy! You’re a nice guy!’ and sounding scared,” Tori Danielson, who was sitting a lecture hall with more than 350 students in Chafee Hall, told The Associated Press. “Everybody started running and screaming out of the room, and our professor told us all to run. And everybody just ran out.”
Other students reported that they heard someone shout, “He’s got a gun.”
Reports of the URI gunman prompted the school to post on its website Thursday morning: “We are investigating a report of a man with a gun in or around Chafee Hall on the Kingston Campus. Secure yourself indoors (not Chaffee), stay there, and do not move about outside until further notice. The emergency alert system has been activated.”
By mid-morning the school reiterated that the campus was not yet cleared and classes were canceled. Reports of the URI gunman also brought huge amounts of traffic to the school’s website, leading it to post updates to Twitter and Facebook.