Cell phone mistaken for gun in incident near Williams Hall
All MSU police units stationed around campus, including at the Miles Bridges press conference, peeled away in full force to West Circle Neighborhood in response to reports of a live weapon. The incident occurred Thursday evening.
The police cruisers drove over sidewalks. One hit a rock along a pathway outside Williams Hall and kept going. A K-9 unit arrived. Multiple officers drew weapons including an assault rifle. A woman was ordered on the ground and detained.
MSU Police searching car currently. Officers reportedly had weapons drawn per witnesses pic.twitter.com/12aLQlgDg2— Stephen Olschanski (@SOlschanski) April 13, 2017
Fifteen minutes later what started as a 911 call about the sighting of a weapon — which stemmed from a squabble between a group of women over a dog not on a leash — was nothing more than a case of a cell phone mistaken for a weapon.
Suspect they paced under arrest it appears. She has been let go. Were reports of shots fired. But nothing to corroborate that. pic.twitter.com/Ll9U8iakRY— Stephen Olschanski (@SOlschanski) April 13, 2017
“That’s why you see the response that you see ... what it looks like is her cell phone was on the dashboard and it’s in a black leather case, kind of big, and it was mistaken for a gun,” MSU police Sgt. Michael Aguilera said. “No gun was involved. Everybody’s safe.”
MSU student Evan Common watched from his dorm room window in Williams Hall after hearing sirens, and said he saw police cruisers begin to frantically converge on one vehicle.
“There’s a pathway where people were walking, and people had to run out of the way so the police cruisers could come by,” Common said. “(One) crashed into a rock and just kept going ... I was like, ‘What’s happening?’ and then I saw someone have an assault rifle out, and I saw someone pointing their (handgun) ... there was a trunk opened by one of the police officers and she was just tossing things out of there, searching the vehicle.”
Sgt. Aguilera confirmed no shots were fired and no gun was found in the vehicle. Aguilera said it is standard procedure for all units to respond to an incident involving a gun.
“If you look at a police response to a situation like this, even though we’re doing a public service like the Miles Bridges thing, trying to keep traffic involved, the ultimate safety is a weapon,” Aguilera said. “Officers don’t have to be told that, (they) know they have to go do what they have to do. And we’ll kind of clean up our mess by abandoning our posts a little bit later, but we have a health and safety issue here. That can kind of wait. Police work is all about priorities. Our priority is life, that’s always priority number one.”