Lockdown lifted at URI campus after gun scare

KINGSTON, R.I. (WHDH) — The lockdown at the University of Rhode Island was lifted Thursday afternoon after reports of a possible gunman.

The school was in lockdown for about 2 1/2 hours. An investigation revealed there was no gun or active shooter at any time.

“I think the first thing that went through everyone’s mind was that someone did have a gun. So there was panic,” said one student.

“Then next thing you know our teacher is screaming, ‘Run, everybody get out, run!’ And she’s just screaming for us to run and I got up and ran out,” said a student.

Students were told to stay where they were via Facebook, Twitter and text message.

Police responded to the school and swept through Chafee Hall, where the report of the gunman came from. The only gun found was a Nerf gun in a backpack. Police said they are confident there was never a real gun, but a professor and some students did hear someone talking about one.

“The professor instructing that class heard what they believed to say, ‘I’m a good guy and I have a gun’ at that point is when the class erupted,” said Capt. Frank Castellone of the Rhode Island state police.

Investigators said the gun report may be connected to “Humans versus Zombies”, a sanctioned on-campus group that holds week-long competitions at URI. The school’s president said the group has never been a problem, but their competition may have to be re-examined in light of the recent scare.

“In the current climate, which all of us in higher education labor where these kinds of incidents can become everyone’s worse nightmare, you have to think again about those kinds of activities,” said URI President Dave Dooley.

The school canceled classes on Thursday, but they’re set to resume on Friday.

7News reached out to the president of “Humans versus Zombies”, but hasn’t heard back. On the group’s Facebook page it says the competition, which was going on, has been canceled for the time being.


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