Ex-student who sparked campus lockdown won't face charges

AP News
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Posted: Sep 01, 2015 7:26 PM

JACKSON, Miss. (AP) — Authorities won't seek criminal charges against a former Mississippi State University student who sparked a campus lockdown last Thursday.

Mississippi State University officials previously said they'd file misdemeanor disorderly conduct charges against Phu-Qui Cong "Bill" Nguyen of Madison.

However, Oktibbeha County Prosecutor Haley Brown says the decision was "solely at the discretion" of university police.

"I did, however, meet with representatives from the Mississippi State University Police Department, and I did discuss the case with them," said Brown, who prosecutes misdemeanor offenses. "Based on the lack of evidence, no charges have been brought at this time."

School spokesman Sid Salter said the freshman withdrew from the university and campus police officers took him to a medical facility in Jackson. He said Brown decided against charges, not university police.

Army recruiters speaking to Nguyen by phone called the school, reporting he was suicidal. The Mississippi Highway Patrol was also called and told the university that Nguyen was threatening to shoot others.

The university sent out an alert for an "active shooter" that sent students, faculty and staff scrambling to lock themselves away. Nguyen was arrested about 15 minutes later in front of a building on the university's main quadrangle without a gun, and officials said no shots were ever fired.

The university announced Tuesday that it has been reviewing its policies and meeting with other police agencies after the alert. Salter said the school wants to improve its ability to put out text messaging alerts more quickly, find ways to further train students and employees how to respond and make it easier to lock classrooms and offices.

He said some buildings right now can only be locked from the outside, and that while more permanent solutions are being examined, the university may do something as simple as distribute doorstops to aid in securing certain rooms.

"The very real threat of an active shooter on our campus has shown us ways that we can make our campus even safer from and more responsive to such dangers," University President Mark Keenum said in a statement.

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