NEW HAVEN, CONN. (CBSNewYork) — Yale University was locked down and under a “shelter in place” order for almost six hours Monday, following the investigation into an anonymous caller’s claim that his roommate was on his way to the campus to shoot people.
Calhoun College and the Old Campus of Yale were also in lockdown but the order was eventually lifted.
University officials later said the warning about the person with the gun was likely a hoax.
As CBS 2’s Lou Young reported, the incident started around 10 a.m. Monday when New Haven police received a 911 call from a pay phone booth near the school reporting a person with a gun near the Old Campus.
The caller also told authorities “that his roommate was on his way to the university, to Yale University, to shoot people,” New Haven police officer David Hartman said.
Around 11 a.m., two witnesses reported seeing someone carrying a long gun in the area, but Hartman said it’s possible those people may have seen law enforcement officers responding to the scene, 1010 WINS’ Al Jones reported.
New Haven Police Chief Dean Esserman said the wording of the report, the use of a payphone, and the quick hang up led police to believe that it might be a hoax. He then stressed that his police force did not have the “luxury of going on a hunch,” Jones reported.
The school kept students and staff informed on its Emergency Management website.
The first notification from Yale to its students came down at 10:17 a.m.
“This is NOT a test,” read one message.
The school issued a “shelter in place” order to its students and also told students “if off campus, stay away.”
As WCBS 880’s Peter Haskell reported, the school is on Thanksgiving break and many students were not on campus. Classes are set to resume Dec. 2.
According to the university’s emergency alert website, teams from Yale police, New Haven police and State police were all on the scene. Several streets in the area were closed off to vehicular and pedestrian traffic.
The school said police conducted a room-by-room search of the campus, starting with residential buildings, “out of an abundance of caution.”
“When they knock on your door, a Yale Police Officer will slip their Yale ID under the door. Please cooperate. In some cases, police may use keys, but they will identify themselves. Shelter in place continues,” the message stated.
There were no reports of shots fired or anyone injured. No arrests were immediately made.
Police were reviewing video tape and interviewing witnesses to try and track down the person who made the 911 call, Jones reported.
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