Update: ROTC cadet carrying replica rifle sets off investigation, alert
Update, 2:19 p.m.: MSU Police determined an ROTC cadet had been carrying a replica rifle in the parking lot of Bessey Hall, according to the department’s Facebook page.
Police were dispatched to Bessey Hall at approximately 12:56 p.m. after receiving a report of a possible person with a gun, the Facebook post confirmed.
As officers responded to the call, an emergency text was sent out to students indicating a potentially dangerous situation.
The text read: “MSU ALERT, Man with a gun seen heading into Bessy Hall secure-in-place immediately. Please advise others if you can. www.msu.edu for more info”
About ten minutes, later, a second message was sent that read: “MSU ALERT, 2/24/14 at 1:00pm we had a report of a person with a gun at Bessey Hall. MSUPD found a person using a training weapon and there is no threat.”
Police determined the ROTC cadet was carrying a replica rifle in the parking lot of Bessey Hall, later entering the building before sending out the second alert, according to the Facebook post.
Sydney Scott, a human resource management freshman, had class in Bessey Hall when someone stood up and told the professor of MSU’s original alert. Upon hearing the warning, she said “everyone in the class was having a nervous breakdown.”
There were at least 100 students in the classroom, and some immediately left through a fire exit, others walked to the back of the classroom to hide and some got on the ground next to their chairs, Scott said.
Her professor checked the hallway and told students he saw a police officer, while her teaching assistant began closing the classroom doors, she said. Then her professor cancelled class and told students if they wanted to leave, they could do so through a fire exit.
“I had a mini heart attack that a gunman was going to come into the classroom,” Scott said. “I thought, ‘Oh my gosh, he’s going to start coming in here and he’ll start shooting.’”
Scott left through the fire exit door after her professor cancelled class, and said she began to cry when she got outside.
“What if it hadn’t been a false alarm?” Scott said, adding she is grateful MSU alerted students as soon as possible. “It’s better they tell us early or in advance so we can move and leave the building.”
MSU police sent out an emergency text message alert at 1:02 p.m. this afternoon warning students of a man seen walking into Bessey Hall with a gun. They sent another message 12 minutes later rescinding the alert — the threat apparently was a person with a training weapon.
A MSU Reserve Officer Training Corps division is headquartered in Bessey Hall, although police could not immediately confirm if the perceived threat was a member of ROTC.
Michael Booth, a finance freshman who was in class in Bessey Hall at the time, said his professor asked everyone to leave the building quickly.
About three police cars were stationed outside the building at the time.
Keep checking statenews.com for more updates on this story.