Federal sources told Eyewitness News that police are at a "campus emergency" at Central Connecticut State University in New Britain that is being treated as an active shooter situation.More >>
NEW BRITAIN, CT (WFSB) -
A Central Connecticut State University professor's son was arrested in connection with a campus lockdown after witnesses said he was carrying what appeared to be a handgun and a possible sword-like weapon, but it turned out to be a Halloween costume, his father told Eyewitness News.
Three persons of interest were in police custody after reports that a suspicious person was spotted on Central Connecticut State University campus in New Britain Monday afternoon.
Police in New Britain received numerous phone calls from students of an armed person who was possibly wearing a mask and camouflage pants walking on CCSU campus around noon.
"As soon as I saw the gun, I could realize it was a gun," said Nicholos Federici, who called 911. "I turned around and started following him."
New Britain police Chief James Wardwell said the person "caused alarm as they walked through campus" and the suspect started running, which could have led to people becoming suspicious.
In less than one minute, officers arrived on campus and were informed that the suspect was seen entering F. Don James Hall, which is one of the largest residence halls on the New Britain campus.
Shortly after that, students were advised to stay indoors and stay away from windows because of a "campus emergency." The campus was placed on lockdown at about noon.
"We will communicate when we have more info. This is not a drill," university officials tweeted at about noon.
Officers used the cameras at the residence hall and card swipe system to identify the persons of interest. One person appeared to be armed when entering the residence hall.
"All our systems worked as the university hoped it would," said CCSU President Jack Miller at a press conference Monday afternoon.
Investigators conducted a floor-to-floor search of the residence hall.
"I was pulled on the ground and they tried to search me," said CCSU student Brian Bailor, who added that he was let go after police saw his ID.
At about 3 p.m., David Kyem, who is the son of the CCSU geography professor Peter Kyem, was arrested and charged with breach of peace.
"He assured me that there's nothing happening," Peter Kyem said. "Apparently they had isolated him in his room and he didn't know."
Peter Kyem confirmed that David Kyem, of Newington, who is a 21-year-old senior at CCSU, was at a party at the University of Connecticut for three days without a change of clothes. David Kyem took a bus back to CCSU and he was still wearing his Halloween costume, which was a ninja, because he had no change of clothes.
Police said they are continuing to investigate the incident and previously said that they were trying to determine if the suspicious person was wearing a Halloween costume. But, investigators would not comment further.
Peter Kyem said once he saw the video of a man in an orange shirt and handcuffs on the news station, he knew it was his son.
"I went to channel three, the website and I saw the T-shirt," said Peter Kyem. "I just felt no this is my son."
Peter Kyem said the weapons were plastic.
"He was excited and that is his nature. But he's not evil," Peter Kyem said. "I don't think he has ever held a gun before."
Police said no shots were fired, no weapons were recovered and there was no struggle with officers.
Interim CCSU Director of Public Safety Christopher Cervoni called Monday's event "an isolated incident."
"There was no real threat," Cervoni said.
There were no reported injuries.
"The students are safe," Cervoni said.
David Kyem was released on a $1,000 bond Monday night.
Police have not released the names of the other two people taken into police custody, but investigators said they were only questioned and released.
Peter Kyem identified at least one of them as his son's roommates.
Campus officials kept the media and students updated via the university Twitter account, reminding students to stay indoors and avoid going near windows. The CCSU campus lockdown was lifted at 3:20 p.m.
"In this situation our prayers were answered," Miller said. "Many situations did not end this way."
The school took extra security steps after the Newtown tragedy where 20 first-graders and six adults were shot and killed at Sandy Hook Elementary School on Dec. 14. Officials said it showed Monday.
"We locked the doors, put up couches and chairs," said Matthew Heckler, who is a resident of James Hall.
Classes and events at CCSU were canceled for rest of Monday just before 3 p.m. Students were allowed to call their parents and be picked up, Miller said.
Classes will resume Tuesday morning, university officials said.
"My staff was great. I contacted them immediately," said Amanda Webster. "Most of them were in this building, the student center. So they just started getting in contact with as many students as possible."
Webster is the editor in chief of the student newspaper, The Recorder, and was just about to leave for the day when the incident started.
"We had an issue last summer where someone called in a threat and we were briefly put on lockdown," Webster said. "But this was just so exciting in a way, but also really scary."
HALS Academy and Holmes elementary schools in New Britain were placed into a "modified lockdown" after the "campus emergency."
Gov. Dannel P. Malloy commended the state and local law enforcement for "their quick response" Monday.
"The actions taken once these reports came in are exactly why it is so important to say something if you see something," Malloy said. "Unfortunately, incidents like these will occur, but today showed us the ideal way for them to conclude - with no one seriously harmed."
No more news conferences by CCSU officials were expected on Monday.
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