UPDATE: Most Ball State Buildings Cleared Created by wowonewsroom on 11/15/2013 5:25:34 PM
MUNCIE, Ind. (AP) — Police converged on the Ball State University campus Friday evening and began sweeping buildings after several witnesses heard someone shouting "gun!" from a third-floor running track on the central Indiana campus.
The university issued an alert about 4:40 p.m. EST Friday warning that a "possible armed assailant" was reported near the Muncie campus' Student Recreation and Wellness Center. School officials said two hours later that most of the buildings in the search area had been cleared, but urged students and staff in the recreation building and four adjoining buildings to remain secured until police officers declared an all-clear.
Ball State spokesman Tony Proudfoot said multiple witnesses alerted campus police after hearing someone repeatedly shout "gun!" on the Recreation and Wellness Building's third-floor running track. But he said no weapon had been found on the campus about 60 miles northeast of Indianapolis.
"There has been no gun sighted, and there have been no shots heard," Proudfoot said.
The school said a service weapon had accidentally discharged outside of the secured area, leading some to mistake that for an explosion, but no one was injured in that incident.
Video from television helicopters showed police armed with assault rifles and shotguns on the scene and blocking an intersection.
Junior Krystal Palmer, an art education major from Dayton, Ohio, said she had been locked in a classroom for nearly 90 minutes and worried that the situation might be "something bigger than they're letting on."
She expressed concern that she learned about the incident through other students before the university sent its alert. She said there have been other cases where the campus alert was delayed.
"Usually it's fine because it's not anything big, but other times we've found out from social media before we've gotten the message, which is kind of scary because it might not be soon enough."
Proudfoot said that there was no delay in the university sending out its initial emergency alert on the situation. He said students or others at the scene likely began tweeting as soon as word spread about someone shouting "gun!"
"There was no delay. We have to keep in mind that social media is instantaneous — someone could instantly tweet from the site," he said.