UNK Issues Emergency Alert After Reports of a Gun on Campus
A threat from an alleged gunman forced University of Nebraska-Kearney officials to issue a campus–wide security alert overnight Sunday into Monday.
Officials say an unidentified man made the threat from a campus emergency phone near the library around 11:30 Sunday night. He told police he had a gun and was planning on killing himself.
University spokeswoman Kelly Bartling said that after a three–hour search of the entire campus, no gunman was found.
As of now, officials say there's no way to know if the caller was actually intending on hurting himself, or if it was all just a hoax.
"There have been a couple of reports of individuals who may be likely to reach out, or have a mental health issue that they may need help with," said Bartling. "So, we're following leads on some of those things, particularly people calling about individuals that they're concerned about."
Several people on campus also reported hearing what they described as gunshots on the north side of the campus.
Bartling said they are still trying to figure out what may have caused the noise. "We're trying to figure out what was behind that. We can't determine what it was. We can't rule out that it was or wasn't a shot. It was just a loud booming noise, so we're looking into some people who might have information about that as well," she said.
Some students were still concerned after the alert ended, saying they weren't taking any chances.
"I was planning on coming to the library earlier, and then I got a phone call and I was like, 'I guess I won't be going to the library,'" said one UNK student. "And if I was on campus, and I was ordered to stay in the buildings, I guess it would just be safer for me, knowing that they are trying to assess the issue and take care of it."
Another student said, "I was kind of scared when I first heard about it, just not having all that much information and not knowing what was going on exactly, but I was already home and inside my house, so I felt pretty safe there."
Bartling stopped short of calling the alert a "lockdown", saying no one was restricted from leaving or entering the buildings during the search.
She says police also questioned a Kearney man who lives close to the campus, but he has since been released.
Police are continuing their investigation, and following up on several leads, but they may not know more until they begin reviewing campus surveillance footage in the coming days.