Virginia Tech tragedy
Schools in 9 states report threats
By ASSOCIATED PRESS
Published April 18, 2007
AUSTIN, Texas - Campus threats forced lockdowns and evacuations at universities, high schools and middle schools in nine states on Tuesday, a day after a Virginia Tech student's shooting rampage killed 33 people.
One threat in Louisiana and another in Montana 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.
A Great Falls, Mont., high school was locked down for a time after a threatening note was found in a girls' bathroom.
A student found the threatening note about 12:15 p.m. on a toilet paper dispenser. Assistant superintendent Dick Kuntz said the note said "the shooting would start at Great Falls High at 12:30 and it would be worse than Virginia Tech." It was a hoax.
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.
In Austin, authorities evacuated buildings at St. Edward's University after a threatening note was found, a school official said.
Seven North 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. University spokesman Dave Wahlberg said the shootings in Virginia reinforced the need to "err on the side of safety."
In Bloomfield Hills, Mich., police attributed a 30-minute lockdown at the exclusive Cranbrook Schools complex in response to jittery nerves following the Virginia slayings.
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.
In Arizona, 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 said.
The man was carrying an umbrella, and he later identified himself to authorities, university president David Boren said.
[Last modified April 18, 2007, 02:41:45]
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