Police ID suspect as father of students after threat prompts dorm lockdown

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Penn State officials said a suspect is in custody following a lockdown at Hamilton Hall after a reported threat to two students Sunday evening. (WPVI)

Penn State officials said a suspect is in custody following a lockdown at Hamilton Hall after a reported threat to two students Sunday evening.



Action News has learned police were responding to a threat made by a father who was in a dispute with his family and threatened to harm his children who were in the campus dorm.

After an intense four hours on campus, the man was taken into custody in Harrisburg.

Around 5:45 p.m., students at Penn State said they got an alarming text. The title read, "Bomb threat."


"The text messages and emails specifically said to stay inside, lock your doors, close the windows," said sophomore and dorm resident Nyriiss Hinton of North Jersey.

Hinton and other students we spoke with say there were armed guards outside, but they said they are still unclear exactly who or why the dorm was being threatened.

"That's where the guard was, he had an assault rifle. There were two of them at first, and then there was a third guy dressed in military garb who also walked by with a assault rifle as well," said Hinton.

Sophomore Lexi Shimkonis of Spring City, Pennsylvania, spoke to Action News via telephone as the events unfolded.

"Now they have, you know, multiple cars, armed police officers standing outside the building making sure no one goes in or goes out," said Shimkonis. "The building is on lockdown."

"I did see some of the guards and obviously when you see things like that without much knowledge then it can be frightening," said David Abruzzese.

Shimkonis and Abruzzese blog for student online news media site, Onward State.

As students were told to lock their doors, Hinton says other were allowed to leave so he took what he saw as the safest route and went to a friend's house.

"There are school shootings everyday and I really did not want to put myself in a situation where I did not feel like it was going to end well so I left," said Hinton.

Penn State sent out periodic texts, telling students not to let strangers inside the building. And then finally a text saying the threat actor had been located, and is in custody.

"I didn't really feel like I knew what was happening, it didn't feel safe," said Hinton.

State police had issued a warrant for the person believed to have made those threats.

The university says they take threats of violence very seriously, even locking down a dormitory of 550 students.

With the suspect is in custody, students are now being told to resume their normal activities.

Patrols will continue through the night for now, officials said.
Related Topics:
educationpenn state universitypennsylvania newsschool threat
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