Suspicious ‘Middle Eastern Man’ Shuts Down DC University Two Nights in a Row
A university in the nation’s capital was forced to enter lock-down for a second night after officials say an armed Middle Eastern man threatened a custodian.
The unidentified man confronted a Catholic University custodian around 10:30 p.m. Monday night and brandished a gun. The man demanded to know where the campus’s main administration was located.
According to a statement from the university, the custodian pointed the man in the direction of Leahy Hall, which houses most of CUA’s administrative offices, and immediately called the police.
The Metropolitan Police Department responded to the campus within minutes and, together with university public safety officers, evacuated two buildings and issued a “Shelter in Place” order to everyone else on campus.
After a search of the buildings in question, police found no evidence of explosive devices or other threats and re-opened the college.
Police stopped a man matching the description provided by the custodian, but upon further inspection discovered he was not the man who threatened the custodian, university President John Garvey said in a statement.
Because the suspect said things that sounded like “terroristic threats,” FBI’s Joint Terrorism Task Force is still investigating the incident.
Tuesday night, city police officers spotted a man they said resembled the the suspect from the previous night, and locked down the school again.
“Further investigation and conversation with the young man made it clear that he was, in fact, someone who had every right to be on campus,” Garvey said.
Garvey said the disruption was significant enough to student schedules that he gave them a three hour delay Wednesday, and ordered classes to start at 11 a.m.
“We have to acknowledge that we live in an uncertain world,” he said in a statement.
“Given the nature of today’s society, we all need to be vigilant and mindful of our surroundings. But I urge you to go about your usual affairs tomorrow — whether it’s teaching or writing papers or studying for exams — knowing that your safety is our highest priority and that we have taken the utmost precautions to ensure it.”
Counseling services at CUA have been made available on a walk-in basis for any student that needs emotional assistance.
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