I’m hearing reports from students that a man entered Chafee Hall and shouted “I’m gonna die!” Someone else yelled “he’s got a gun!”
— Kim Kalunian (@KimKalunian) April 4, 2013
A Nerf gun wielded during Zombie Week may have prompted today’s hysteria at the University of Rhode Island’s Kingston campus, as reports of an “active shooter” spurred a stampede and campus-wide lockdown.
Rhode Island State Police Capt. James Manni told Heavy.com:
At 11:22 am, at URI at the Chafee Social Science Center, a professor overheard a male subject outside saying “I am a good guy and I have a gun.” He then intiated a lockdown. RI State police, university police, and South Kingston police responded. No evidence of an active shooter or firearm was found and the campus was shut down from 11:22 to 2:10 pm. We did find Nerf Gun and it was Zombie Week so it could have been possibly related to that.
Heavy’s source on the ground, a student at the campus, was in the thick of the hysteria and described with remarkable detail his experience this morning:
At approximately 11:38 a.m., this morning, April 4, I was sitting in classroom 243 Chafee Hall, URI, Main Campus, Kingston, located of Flag Road. I was sitting in the back row, left to a member of the military — National Guard. I was in a class, about halfway through the class, and all of a sudden we heard a large trampling of students and the floor started shaking. We were outside (the classroom) afterwards, and a number of us thought we heard two large bangs, like BOOM BOOM, like a gun. Unsure. Could’ve been books or people, but it sounded pretty loud. The I ran out the side door, about 200 yards from the building, on top of a hill, and watched as the cops, police, everybody showed up. My friends in the military brought me my stuff. It’s approximately 11:55 now. And that’s when they thought a shooter had left the building. So they think he’s around Chafee Hall. …
People got trampled. Two kids in the class have injuries. Ambulances took them away. … Trampling injuries. One was a broken arm and I think someone got a concussion. …
I was on the highway coming home and I probably saw roughly 50 emergency vehicles going down to school.
Here’s how it went down:
1. Cops Got the Call Around 11:30 a.m.
Investigating possible gunman on campus. Seek shelter and stay where you are until we update further. ww2.uri.edu
— URI (@URINews) April 4, 2013
2. The Campus Was Locked Down
State police are in the process of clearing Chafee Hall room by room. Continue to stay indoors until further notice.
— URI (@URINews) April 4, 2013
Classes were canceled for the day, but the lockout has been lifted as of 2:25 p.m. local time.
3. Reports of a “Gunman” Originated in Chafee Hall
Kassandra Burke, a junior at the University of Rhode Island, said she was in a lecture hall inside the John Chafee Social Science Center when she heard the door open at the top of the hall, and a man shouted, “He’s got a gun.”
Burke said she didn’t get a look at the man and couldn’t confirm if he did have a gun.
Employee Joshua Caulkins spoke to WPRI:
Joshua Caulkins, a URI employee, told WPRI.com he arrived on campus around noon and found roughly 150 students and staff members around Chafee Hall along with two police cars and about six security personnel. “Everyone’s just standing around,” he said. Caulkins said a woman told him she was inside a Chafee Hall classroom when a student stood up and said, “I’m a nice guy! I’m a nice guy!” The professor in the classroom then told everybody to get out.
Police with dogs searching the building and cleared the rooms one-by-one.
4. Some People Thought They Heard Gunshots
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Above, the location of Chafee Hall on the URI Kingston Campus.
A student at the school, who was in Chafee Hall this morning, tells Heavy.com that he heard two “loud booms” that sounded like gunshots. But a Rhode Island State Police spokesperson told Heavy.com “There was no shooting at URI.”
Our student source also said two people were treated for non-gunshot-related wounds — one for concussion and one for a possible broken arm.