Panic ensued when a university campus in Rhode Island was placed on lockdown after a professor overheard a student saying that he was “a good guy” with a gun, unaware that he was most likely referring to an ongoing “zombie” game.
Police were called in as the professor immediately ordered his students take cover inside a classroom, and later to evacuate the room altogether, following voices he overheard coming from outside, according to reports.
Kayla Gilmore, a URI Student who was in the class told reporters, “We were in physiology class and heard somebody pounding on the door saying that they have a gun and let them in. ‘I have a gun.’ So we all dove underneath our seats and then our professor told us, ‘everybody run!’”
When word got around about the incident via twitter and text messages, students subsequently reported seeing an armed man in a lecture hall, which was also immediately evacuated, with some students suffering minor injuries in the stampede to flee the building.
The sighting is thought to have been part of the panic, rather than any real threat, with police saying that they later recovered a toy “nerf” gun.
“No evidence was found that an active firearm or active shooter was there,” Captain James Manni of the Rhode Island State Police said. He added that it had become apparent that students at the school were participating in an unofficial “zombie week,” where “humans” shoot “zombies” with nerf guns.
“It was possibly some type of game that was being played,” Manni said, adding that police were investigating if it was connected to the gun scare.
Capt. Frank Castellone, of the Rhode Island State Police said, “At no time was there ever an active shooter or a handgun on campus. And at no time was there ever anyone in danger.”
Police said they are still attempting to ascertain who “pounded” on the door and for what purpose, presuming it was a prank.
Following the lockdown, which lasted for two and a half hours, the university canceled all classes at the Kingston campus, with officials saying it was a precautionary measure. Classes resumed Friday as normal.
Some students reacted on Facebook, with one noting:
“This whole ordeal is really annoying, people are now freaking out over a “threat” which was not carried out. this is proof that gun bans do not work, if the alleged really did have a firearm it sure as hell did not stop the individual from bringing it.”
This is now an all too familiar scene on campuses and at schools across the nation in the wake of increased hysteria following the Sandy Hook tragedy in December.
Back in January, a discussion between two children about a toy nerf gun caused a lockdown and a massive armed police response at two elementary schools in the Bronx.
The two schools were locked down for over an hour with pupils kept inside as police with weapons drawn hunted down the deadly non-existent toy gun.