IN WAKE OF VIRGINIA TECH CARNAGE, THREATS
RATTLE SCHOOLS IN 10 STATES
April 17, 2007
AUSTIN, Texas - Campus threats forced lock-downs and evacuations at universities,
high schools and middle schools in at least 10 states on Tuesday, a day after a Virginia Tech student's shooting rampage killed
Threats in Louisiana,
Montana and Washington state directly mentioned the massacre
in Virginia, while others were reports of suspicious activity in Texas,
Arizona, Oklahoma, Tennessee,
North Dakota, South Dakota and Michigan.
In Louisiana, parents picked
up hundreds of students from Bogalusa's high school and middle school amid reports that a man had been arrested Tuesday morning
for threatening a mass killing in a note that alluded to the murders at Virginia Tech.
Schools Superintendent Jerry
Payne said both schools were locked down and police arrested a 53-year-old man who allegedly made the threat in a note he
gave to a student headed to the private Bowling Green School in Franklinton. Both towns are in southeastern Louisiana.
"The note referred to what
happened at Virginia Tech," Payne said. "It said something like, 'If you think that was bad, then you haven't seen anything
A Great Falls, Mont., high school was locked down for a time
Tuesday after a threatening note was found in a girls' bathroom.
A student found the threatening
note at about 12:15 p.m. on a toilet paper dispenser. It stated, "the shooting would start at Great Falls High at 12:30 and
it would be worse than Virginia Tech," Assistant Superintendent Dick Kuntz said. He said it was a hoax.
Washington State University's branch campus in Vancouver was evacuated because of
graffiti discovered in a campus restroom threatened harm likened to the Virginia
slayings around 8 p.m., around the time a conference on the Patriot Act and the war on terror was scheduled, authorities said.
The event was to be rescheduled.
In Rapid City, S.D., schools were locked down after receiving
reports of a man with a gun in a parking lot at Central High. No shots were fired and no injuries were reported, police said.
The high school students were taken to the nearby Rushmore Plaza Civic Center,
where parents were allowed to pick up their children.
In Austin, authorities evacuated buildings at St. Edward's University after a threatening note
was found, a school official said.
Police secured the campus
perimeter and were searching the buildings, St. Edward's University spokeswoman Mischelle Amador said. She declined to say
where the note was found and said its contents were "nonspecific."
Amador said the university's
reaction was not influenced by Monday's attack at Virginia Tech.
"No matter what day or when
this would have happened, we will always take the necessary precautions to protect our students, our faculty, our staff, the
entire university community," she said.
Dakota State University
buildings in Fargo were evacuated after a duffel bag was found
outside a bus shelter in the main part of the campus. NDSU spokesman Dave Wahlberg said the shootings in Virginia reinforced the need to "err on the side of safety."
Hills, Mich., police attributed a 30-minute lock-down at the exclusive Cranbrook
Schools complex in response to jittery nerves following the Virginia
School officials called
police after parents and students reported spotting a 6-foot-tall man in a skirt, high heels, lipstick and a blond wig near
a school drop-off area outside Cranbrook's Kingswood
Upper School, Lt. Paul Myszenski
said. Police were unable to find anyone meeting the man's description.
At the University
of Tennessee at Chattanooga,
officials ordered three campus administration buildings evacuated for almost two hours Tuesday morning in response to a telephone
bomb threat. The city's bomb squad searched the buildings but found nothing, campus spokesman Chuck Cantrell said.
Cantrell said there was
no reason to believe the bogus threat was related to the shootings at Virginia Tech, but "we just chose to err on the side
of caution today."
classes were canceled at Estrella Mountain
Community College in Avondale, a suburb of Phoenix,
after a note threatening a shooting was delivered via intercampus mail.
Avondale police conferred
with campus officers and staff and decided the threat was "serious and immediate" and ordered the evacuation, said Amy Boulton,
a police spokeswoman. Officers searched the campus looking for evidence or any threat but nothing was found, Boulton said.
A scare at the University of Oklahoma at Norman started with a report of a man spotted on campus carrying a suspicious object, officials
The man was carrying an
umbrella, not a weapon, and he later identified himself to authorities, University
of Oklahoma President David Boren said in a statement. Boren initially
had said the person was believed to carrying a yoga mat.
"We now consider the matter
closed," Boren said. "We always want to err on the side of caution in a situation like this."