Active Shooter Threat Alert Reported at Oklahoma University

Active Shooter Threat Alert Reported at Oklahoma University
Students walk on campus between clases at the University of Oklahoma in Norman, Okla., on March 11, 2015. (Brett Deering/Getty Images)
Caden Pearson

The University of Oklahoma confirmed that its campus was secure following an alert nearly 90 minutes earlier about an active shooter that prompted a lockdown on Friday night.

The university issued a tweet at 9.45 p.m. notifying students and staff about the situation at the Van Vleet Oval. The tweet advised everyone to take immediate action.

“Take immediate action now. Run. Hide. Fight!” the university wrote on Twitter.

Campus police investigated “shots fired” and about 20 minutes later warned students to avoid the south oval area. The university then instructed everyone in a follow-up tweet to “continue sheltering in place” at 10.30 p.m.

Fortunately, just before 11 p.m., the Oklahoma University Police Department declared an “ALL CLEAR” after conducting a thorough search and finding no threat. The university quickly posted the update on Twitter and canceled the alert.

‘No Threats Were Found’

Nate Tarver, the chief of the University of Oklahoma’s police department, told media at the scene that after a thorough search of the library and adjacent areas, no evidence of an active shooter was found. (source delete)

He told the media that a possible shots fired was called into the university’s police department and to other law enforcement agencies at around 9.30 p.m.

“No threats were found. We did a thorough search of the library and the adjacent area, and found no threats, no evidence that any shooting had occurred,” Tarver said.

He added that the campus was now safe, and anyone sheltering in place could now “come out.”

Tarver also mentioned that the department’s officers are trained to respond to active shooter situations and would review their response to identify areas that could be improved.

Tarver expressed relief that everyone appeared to be safe following the incident.

It is not clear if the original call alerting authorities was a hoax call intended to summon the SWAT department. This is a prank known as swatting.

The university police chief warned about the risks of swatting calls, saying they not only endanger the responding officers but also the areas they normally patrol.

“It makes those other spots vulnerable because all the law enforcement is concentrated in one area. That is not a favorable situation, but we don’t know of any other way to handle it at this time,” Tarver said.

Twitter account Raw Alerts shared audio from a police scanner purportedly from the campus police communications as officers investigated the shots fired. In the audio, a male officer can be heard reporting that canisters were found near the library, and there was confetti all over the ground.

“There’s confetti all over the ground,” he says.

Videos circulated on social media appeared to show law enforcement, paramedics, and SWAT units attending the campus in response to the active shooter alert. The Epoch Times cannot independently verify their authenticity.

University President Joseph Harroz, Jr. expressed his gratitude to the campus police and law enforcement from the surrounding area for their prompt response to the situation.

“I commend our OUPD officers and law enforcement from across the area for their swift response tonight. Our officers took immediate action, our emergency protocols worked, and our community was kept informed,” he wrote on Twitter.

He also praised the effectiveness of the university’s emergency protocols and the vigilance of the OU community, both near and far, in responding to the alert.

“Campus is safe. I am grateful to our OU Family for staying alert, and for the care and concern shown to our community from near and far.”

Caden Pearson is a reporter covering U.S. and world news.
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