STARKVILLE, Mississippi– There was quite a bit of uncertainty and fear about reports of a shooting at Mississippi State University on Thursday morning. Those reports, many of which circulated on social media, were false.
Sid Salter, Chief Communications Officer at Mississippi State University, told WHNT News 19 by phone the situation has been resolved and no shots were fired. However, the school was on lockdown because it received a ‘credible threat,’ he said.
Salter said at 9:55 a.m. the Mississippi State Police Department received a call from an agency in Jackson. The agency, which Salter declined to name, said they received a ‘credible threat’ from a student who said they were on MSU’s campus, threatening “suicide and homicide” according to Salter.
Salter said the school issued a “Maroon Alert” at 10:15 a.m. ordering campus to go on lockdown.
At 10:26 a.m. campus police took the student in custody at McCool Hall, MSU’s College of Business.
The student is identified as Thu-Qui Cong Nguyen, and is a freshman in computer engineering. Nguyen is from Madison, Mississippi and goes by the Americanized name “Bill.” He is in custody and being questioned.
Salter stressed that shots were never fired and no weapon was recovered.
The school gave the “ALL CLEAR” at 11 a.m. and classes will resume at 2 p.m. Thursday.
Social media reports
Many reports circulated on social media saying shots were heard. Video circulated showing students running on campus when reports of an active shooter surfaced.
Mississippi State’s emergency alert system on Thursday warned of a potential active shooter on campus and asked people to seek safety. The university said that a suspected shooter was in custody, but then said there were no reports of shots being fired.
An all-clear was given less than an hour after the initial alert.
The university’s alert system denied there were additional reports of danger and urged students to remain calm.
Hannah Jordan, an MSU student, said she saw people jumping out of windows at the building where the incident had been reported. From her vantage point in a nearby building, she saw police pull a man outside and handcuff him.
“I didn’t see a gun at all or ever hear any shots,” she said.
Confusion ruled, and no matter what police determine after talking to the person of interest, the MSU community was left shaken.
Tweets from the campus and Starkville community were filled with descriptions of people running as fast as they ever have, feeling traumatized, and calling it the “scariest moment of my life.”