UPDATE: One person has been arrested following the false report of an active shooter at Burge Residence Hall over the weekend.
Harrison Tsimouris, an 18-year-old student and resident of Burge, was arrested after admitting the text message he sent was intended to be a prank. He was later charged with filing a false report to a public entity.
Scott Beckner, assistant vice president and director of the UI Department of Public Safety, says this incident was not only a crime, but a highly irresponsible action that put students, staff, and officers at risk.
“Although we are trained to handle these scenarios safely, mass evacuations create additional safety hazards. Students exiting the building could have been seriously injured by running and squeezing through doorways or falling down steps,” says Beckner. “Only by the orderly exiting by our students, an appropriate response by officers and staff to assist, and luck did we not have reports of students physically injured during this incident.”
IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) – A University of Iowa residence hall was evacuated after a false report of an active shooter.
A university spokeswoman says Burge Residence Hall was evacuated around 5 p.m. Saturday after a student called police to report he had received a text message from a friend about an active shooter. The student’s friend urged him to contact police.
University police officers arrived as students were being evacuated. Minutes later, the student who made the initial report called the police department to say his friend had gotten back in touch with him to say he was joking.
Both students were brought in for questioning, but no arrests have been made. The incident remains under investigation. University officials say they didn’t send a campus-wide alert because they quickly concluded the threat wasn’t credible.