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Armed Search Of KU Dorm

Law enforcement officials gather outside McCollum Hall on the campus of Kansas University, Friday, April 30, 2010. Law enforcement officials are looking for a possible armed suspect in McCollum Hall.
photo by Kevin Anderson
Law enforcement officials gather outside McCollum Hall on the campus of Kansas University, Friday, April 30, 2010. Law enforcement officials are looking for a possible armed suspect in McCollum Hall.

Lawrence, Kan. – From Lawrence Journal World

Updated 3:54 PM 4-30-10: All available Kansas University police officers and some members of the Lawrence police department were dispatched just before 2 p.m. Friday to McCollum Hall in response to report of a man with a gun at the residence hall.

According to KU spokeswoman Jill Jess, officials believe the suspect has left the building but "for the safety of our students" officers are conducting a floor-by-floor search. In a briefing with the media, Jess said a resident heard a fight in a neighboring room and then heard a man say, 'Where's my gun?' She said a person then saw a man with a gun and reported that to authorities. Jess described the suspect as a light-skinned black man, about 180 pounds, wearing a white T-shirt with brown trim, black sweat pants and white tennis shoes. The man has no facial hair, but he has tattoos fully covering both arms.

Lawrence police have also visited the McDonalds on 23rd Street as well as the area of Sixth and Iowa streets in response to reports of a vehicle matching that of the suspect's. At least a dozen police officers were visible outside the building, and at least two armed officers had run into the building . Dozens of KU students were congregated outside the entrance to McCollum. Lawrence Douglas County Fire and Medical activated a medical task force and staged at the Lied Center with several fire and medical units.

According to emergency dispatchers, a perimeter had been set up at McCollum Hall, and officers were making a floor-by-floor search of the building. McCollum is the largest residence hall on the KU campus and is among five dorms on Daisy Hill, near 15th and Iowa streets. It is home to about 900 co-ed students on 10 floors. The university also made an announcement of the situation over the campus public address system.

KU sent an alert to students using its emergency alert text messaging system. KU advised McCollum students to go to a safe place and advised all other students to avoid the area. KU on Wheels buses were being rerouted away from the south end of Daisy Hill. KU reminds students, faculty, staff and the community that the rest of the KU campus is not under lockdown and is conducting business normally.

However, those in Allen Fieldhouse have been told that the building is in lockdown, though those inside are free to go, at their own risk, said Stephanie Sass, who is visiting campus with her husband, Ty Merlock. The couple lives in Portland, Ore. "It's not clear what we are supposed to do," Sass said as she shopped in the fieldhouse gift shop, waiting word whether it was safe to leave. "The building is locked from the inside, so people can't get in, but they can go outside. They said we are free to leave but it's at your own risk and to stay away from windows."

Elizabeth Najim, a Wichita freshman, said she's barricaded her door on the third floor of McCollum. "I hear some doors opening and closing, but I really don't know what that is," she said. When she arrived back at her dorm after astronomy class, she received odd text messages. "A bunch of friends texted me, wondering if I was OK," she said. And then she received KU's emergency text. "I started freaking out," she said. But phone conversations with family and friends have helped her calm down. And she's confident about her barricade: a bed, two chairs and storage cubbies all up against her door. Copyright 2010, kcur


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