Police Report Person With Gun at University of Central Florida

Students at the University of Central Florida began getting text alerts around 11:30 p.m. Friday night warning them to shelter in place, or seek shelter immediately in the nearest building and stay away from windows.

A few minutes later, another text alert warning students to steer clear of Tower 1, a residence hall building on campus.

USF students took to Twitter to express confusion and concern, saying the University had provided no other information save for “cryptic” text alerts. The University police department had not initially tweeted or posted to Facebook. There was no alert posted on its website or the University website.

There were reports of a shooter or shooting but not only were those reports by students unconfirmed, when police finally did respond, around an hour after the first alert was sent, they said they got a call about a man with a gun in his waistband walking into Tower 1 dorm.

Nearly two hours after the first alert, police said they know who the person is and were trying to make contact with him.

“We are still working this call about an individual who we’ve since identified entering Tower 1 with a firearm. We know who he is and where he is. There is no larger threat to campus, but we are asking our community to avoid the Tower 1 area so that we can do our job.”

The situation, at 1:30 a.m. was still active. Then, just before 2 a.m. police said that the person had a BB gun, albeit a pellet gun that looks a lot like a real gun, and there was no threat.

And then, police apologized for creating a panic.

“We have made contact with the individual reported to have entered Tower 1 with a firearm and learned that he was carrying a BB gun. There is no active threat to campus. We are working to clear the scene and allow residents back into their rooms.”

A few minutes later, an apology:

“We understand that words matter. In a situation with heightened stress, we made a poor choice in our initial language. We know this caused undue panic and stress by those we serve and protect, and for that we apologize.”

Here’s what you need to know:

‘What Am I Seeking Shelter From,’ a Student Asked. The Cryptic Alerts Frightened & Worried UCF Students

For the first hour, there was no other information being provided by police, at least on social media.

Heavy called and tried to reach the UCF public information officer Courtney Gilmartin twice, unsuccessfully.

Rumors were rampant and people were afraid.

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“It’s been about thirty minutes since the last #UCF alert… All I can say is stay indoors and away from Tower 1. There are rumors swirling around so be careful what you share on social media. I’d like to believe we’ll be getting another official update shortly…”

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An Alert to Avoid Tower I & to Hide or Shelter in Place Inside That Building Created a Panic

The Orlando Sentinel reported that the Orange County Sheriff was en route. And a “mutual aid” call was made and the OCSO is responding.

The student newspaper, UCF Knight News, was reporting, keeping students informed.

An Hour Into the Incident, Police Took to Twitter to Explain the Situation: A Guy With a Gun in His Waistband Entered the Dorm

Then, one hour after the first alert went out, the UCF Police finally tweeted:

“We received a call about a person with a firearm in his waistband entering Tower 1. We are working to make contact with the individual. Please avoid the area for now as we work this situation. All other campus operations are normal.”

Students were upset. Some for the amount of time it took to explain what was happening and others, upset that people were criticizing the police.

Shortly before 1 a.m., University Police said they had “identified” the person with a gun and were trying to initiate contact.

“The law enforcement response at Tower 1 remains active and fluid. We’ve identified the individual reported to have entered the building with a weapon, and we’re working to make contact. Please continue to avoid the area.

Police now say they know “who and where” the man with a gun is.

More Than Two Hours After the Incident Began, UCF Police Said the Man Had a BB Gun, Was Not a Threat, & Apologized for Causing a Panic Saying They’d ‘Do Better’

“We understand that words matter. In a situation with heightened stress, we made a poor choice in our initial language. We know this caused undue panic and stress by those we serve and protect, and for that we apologize.”

“We are happy that this situation was resolved peacefully. We’ll learn from it, and we’ll do better. Stay safe, Knights.”

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