Some photos and videos are starting to emerge from the scene at UCF (the University of Central Florida) where students were advised to shelter in place and avoid Tower 1.
Authorities have now explained that the incident involved a call about a possible firearm. There has been no report of a shooter or shooting, despite social media reports on that running rampant. “#UCFAlert: 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,” the UCF Police Department wrote on Twitter. “Please avoid the area for now as we work this situation. All other campus operations are normal.”
Police later clarified: “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.”
They shared a photo of the BB gun.
“We understand that words matter. In a situation with heightened stress, we made a poor choice in our initial language,” police wrote. “We know this caused undue panic and stress by those we serve and protect, and for that we apologize.”
The student newspaper UCF Knight News has posted some photos and videos of the scene on Twitter. Police also wrote: “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.”
Another photo shared by the newspaper showed deputies at the scene outside Tower 1.
Here’s the initial shelter order:
“We are on scene where police have already cordoned off the area,” the newspaper wrote. “Several law enforcement officers are armed with long rifles along the area.”
At first, the exact nature of the incident was not yet clear, which has caused some consternation among students, who took to social media to indicate they wanted more information from the university and authorities.
The first alert told students to “SHELTER IN PLACE! Seek shelter immediately in nearest building away from doors and windows.” A second alert advised them: “If you are in area of Tower 1 shelter immediately in nearest building, away from doors and windows.”
People expressed fear on social media. “Being a ucf towers resident scares the sh*t out of you when ucf tower 1 is trending,” wrote one person.
It all made for a scary night. “This UCF Tower 1 situation proves that social media is a powerful thing. The police say shooting rumors are inaccurate so I’m hoping we get more answers soon,” wrote another Twitter user. Some people felt it took too long for authorities to explain what was going on. Others were just afraid for their friends.
“i’m not at ucf rn and texts are getting me worried. everyone in tower 1 and in the area please be safe,” one woman wrote. False reports of an active shooter spread. “On UCF campus… supposedly active shooter near Tower 1… Fire alarm just went off in my building and I’m definitely not going outside.. We called and fire dept. is on scene??” wrote another woman.