AKRON, Ohio — A scare on Thursday night shut down a building at the University of Akron after someone reported seeing a man wearing camouflage carrying a gun.
Police gave the “all clear” about 90 minutes later, but the building was evacuated while they searched for a possible gunman.
“About ten minutes after class started, a police officer walked in and pulled the teacher aside and then we were told that we had to pick up our things and evacuate the building,” said University of Akron senior Alex Zimmerman.
Just after 5 p.m. on Thursday, University of Akron police officers ordered students and professors to evacuate the Polsky Building just at the edge of campus.
“So I told them grab nothing but your coats and we’re out of the building,” said University of Akron professor Dana Little.
A woman called police, telling them she saw someone with a shoulder holster with the butt of a gun sticking out and said he was wearing camouflage.
“The only weird thing is when we came in, a couple people were noticing that there were a lot of police officers walking around,” said Zimmerman.
“We secured the building, we evacuated the building and we began a comprehensive search of that building. The officers have completed that search, no one was found matching that description or anyone with a weapon,” said University of Akron police chief Paul Callahan.
“This is sort of real world practice of what we teach here,” said Little.
The Polsky building houses criminal justice classes, among other courses. It is also home to the University of Akron’s police academy.
“So it’s possible that it could be an off-duty officer from another department who was attending a class or on his way through or whatever. We don’t know,” said Callahan.
The university’s police chief says regardless, the woman who called them did the right thing.
“We encourage the students and anyone to give us a call, never feel silly about giving us a call in reference to something like that. It’s always better to be safe than sorry,” said Callahan.
“I’m just grateful that everyone is safe and sound and that it turned out to be a false alarm,” said Little.
The Polsky building was closed for the remainder of the evening, although people were allowed inside to grab belongings they may have left inside.
University officials say the building will be open as usual on Friday.