CUA Issues Shelter in Place Due to False 911 Calls


Image courtesy of Daniel Hamburg: @DHamburgReports

By Claudia Carrion

A shelter-in-place was announced at 10:00 a.m. last Thursday, April 13, while students attended class.

An unidentified call to 911 alarmed the DC police department, immediately sending the information to CUA security. The student body and staff were advised to stay inside and barricade the doors until updates said otherwise. 

At 11:00 a.m. CUA Security announced there was no threat on campus, and the shelter was lifted.The campus was swarmed by cops and school security. The district cops and school security searched the campus for an hour and found nobody. 

The DC police department had a helicopter look overhead to ensure the campus was safe and cleared. Kim Gregory, the CUA Security Director, made no comments when asked about the incident.

News outlets such as Fox 5 and ABC 4 call the threat a hoax, but the police department is still trying to locate the source of the call. 

Half a mile away, Trinity Washington University received the same call at 9:50 a.m. about a possible threat. The DC Police Department  did a thorough search with their school’s security, and did not find any threat on campus. 

“The reports of active shooter hoax calls are on the rise at schools across the U.S.,” said Miriam Barcenas, a reporter at Trinity Times. 

Some students on campus were scared, while others maintained calm with their phones in hand awaiting updates. 

Marcus Garcia, 26, an IT staff at Leahy Hall at the time of the incident, said, “My manager Jeff did a really good job keeping everyone calm. He helped a lot, especially with students who were scared.”“We were all waiting for the updates to come, so we knew when it was over,” said Garcia. “I am glad it was all false in the end, especially at this time in the US.” 

During the search, a total of five security alert texts and call updates were sent out to everyone in CUA.

Classes were canceled for the rest of Thursday after the incident took place. Faculty and staff advised the student body to seek counseling if talking to someone helped with the traumatic event. The CUA Counseling Center provides students with 45 free counseling sessions. The Counseling Center is open from Mondays to Fridays from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Call 202-319-5765 or visit room 127 at O’Boyle Hall to make an appointment. 

On Thursday morning, President Kilpatrick sent an address and plan of action to the campus community, including reassessing safety plans and threat response training for students and faculty. 

“I am very proud of how this community, particularly our students, handled the events of last week…” President Kilpatrick wrote. “I thank God that no physical harm was done during last week’s incident, but I recognize that the experience of last week’s shelter in place was troubling to students, faculty, and staff. We have resources available on campus to help, including counseling and our Campus Ministry. I encourage you to avail yourself to them if needed.” 

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