The John C. Hitt Library was evacuated Tuesday afternoon after reports reached the UCF Police department about a possible armed civilian in the building. No threat was found after a thorough search, but the response on social media and by the police escalated at breakneck speed.
The original UCF Alert read the following:
UCF ALERT* POSSIBLE MIDDLE EASTERN GUN MAN/WOMAN IN UCF MAIN CAMPUS LIBRARY. AVOID THE AREA!
“We got a call, a report, around 3:45 about a social media post indicating that there was a woman in the library with a gun. Police responded quickly and they evacuated the library and they spent about an hour going through the library going from floor to floor, just looking for suspicious activity; anything that seemed off. They didn’t find anything, but we did receive several 911 calls so we’re going to continue to follow up on those and see if there was anything more to it – the report,” UCF spokesperson Courtney Gilmartin said.
A witness said the suspect was a woman who was praying with the Quran in the library stairwell when someone called the cops saying she had a gun. This has not been confirmed by UCFPD.
— Katherine Ragamat (@kat_rag) April 26, 2016
A search for the report’s source will continue on in the next few days as the department investigates exactly how the situation arose. Though it turned out to be a molehill rather than a mountain, the rapid reaction is what the UCF Alert System is designed for; the campus police do not take these situations lightly.
“I think we got out here pretty quickly,” Gilmartin said. “I mean anyone that was out here saw the massive police response, but I think that’s because we take these reports, whether they’re real or not, so seriously.”
Student heard a loud “bang” moments after police exited the building, but it was quickly revealed to be a misfire by an officer.
Deputy Chief Brett Meade said the "bang" was an accidental discharge.
— UCF Knight News (@UCFKnightNews) April 26, 2016
“UCF Police did a great job in securing the library and clearing it to make sure everyone was safe. As an officer was leaving and securing his firearm in his vehicle it accidentally discharged. We’re going to investigate what happened and make sure it doesn’t happen again,” explained UCF Vice President of Communications and Marketing Grant Heston.
Photo Credit: Aileen Perilla