Gun report triggers LA campus library search

AP News
Posted: Sep 28, 2011 12:23 AM
Gun report triggers LA campus library search

A young man who triggered the evacuation and daylong search of a sprawling library at the California State University, Northridge, campus after indicating he had a gun was found and detained Tuesday night.

Information provided by people on campus led police to the man, whose name was not immediately released because he was being questioned, university spokeswoman Carmen Ramos Chandler said.

The four-story Oviatt Library was evacuated about 10:30 a.m. after an employee approached the man, who appeared to be in distress, and asked if he was OK. Chandler said that was when the man, who was wearing shorts and a T-shirt that read, "Human Rights Violation," indicated he had a weapon.

"The witness did not see a gun but something, I don't know what, indicated he may have had a gun," Chandler said of the man.

After a floor-by-floor search failed to turn up either the man or a weapon, campus police asked the Los Angeles Police Department to check the building with bomb-sniffing dogs.

Meanwhile, authorities cordoned off the library and a large grassy area in front. No classes were canceled.

"An alert was sent out to the entire campus via text, via voice, via email, Facebook and Twitter, just to let them know about the situation with the library," Chandler said. "The library was the only building affected."

The 353-acre campus, in the northwest corner of Los Angeles' San Fernando Valley, has a student population of more than 30,000. It was badly damaged in the 1994 Northridge earthquake, but has been extensively rebuilt and enrollment has swelled since then.

As the library was searched, hundreds of students and teachers milled around just outside the cordoned-off area.

The library remained closed Tuesday evening because the man was found just hours before closing time. It will reopen Wednesday morning at 7:45 a.m., Chandler said.

"All I heard was some guy had a gun or something," said freshman Gerardo Valenzuela, who sat under a tree just outside the blocked-off area on a 100-degree afternoon.

As word of the threat spread, graduate student Kevin Riley said some of his classmates told him their parents urged them to stay home. He said they responded that they felt safe on campus.