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Gunman Kills Himself On UConn Avery Point Campus

University of Connecticut Avery Point Campus (file / credit: UConn)

University of Connecticut Avery Point Campus (file / credit: UConn)

GROTON, Conn. (CBSNewYork / AP) - A gunman who forced authorities to close the University of Connecticut’s Avery Point campus committed suicide Tuesday morning after spending the night in a standoff with police.

WCBS 880 Connecticut Bureau Chief Fran Schneidau On The Story

The 30-year-old man, whose name was not immediately released, shot himself near some docks on the shoreline campus just before dawn, said Lt. Paul Vance, a state police spokesman.

The incident began at about 5 p.m. Monday when Groton police began looking for a local man who was armed and despondent, Vance said. The man’s car was found at about 10 p.m. at Avery Point, prompting police to close the campus.

The school sent out an electronic alert message, asking everyone to evacuate the campus.

There were between 40 and 50 high school students on the campus at the time, attending an oceanography camp, and they were kept overnight inside a campus building under police guard, Vance said.

None of the students were ever in danger, said university spokeswoman Stephanie Reitz.

The gunman was found on the shoreline, on the opposite side of the campus, armed with a handgun.

Police spent hours talking to him, but he eventually threw away his cellphone and refused to communicate further, Vance said.

When the man began waving his gun, police tried other non-lethal tactics, including firing bean-bags at the suspect, and setting off a flash grenade, Vance said.

“It was a very dangerous situation for everyone involved,” he said. “Our intent, at all times, was to peacefully disarm the individual and get him the help he needed.”

The suspect turned the gun on himself before dawn, taking his own life, Vance said.

His name has not been released. The school reopened later Tuesday morning, though the area where the shooting took place remained cordoned off while police continued their investigation.

Police also were notifying the man’s family and questioning witnesses who may have information about his last 24 hours, Vance said.

Avery Point is regional campus of the university with about 800 students. It houses the school’s marine science programs.

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