- The Washington Times - Wednesday, April 18, 2007

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — Campus threats forced lockdowns and evacuations at universities and grade schools in nine states yesterday, a day after a Virginia Tech student’s shooting rampage killed 33 persons, including himself.

Threats in Louisiana and Montana directly mentioned the massacre in Virginia, while others were reports of suspicious activity in Arizona, Michigan, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Tennessee and Texas.

In Louisiana, parents picked up hundreds of students from Bogalusa’s high school and middle school because of reports that a man had been arrested for threatening a mass killing in a note that alluded to the carnage at Virginia Tech.

Schools Superintendent Jerry Payne said both schools were locked down and police arrested a 53-year-old man who purportedly made the threat in a note he gave to a student headed to the private Bowling Green School in Franklinton. Both towns are in southeastern Louisiana.

“The note referred to what happened at Virginia Tech,” Mr. Payne said. “It said something like, ‘If you think that was bad, then you haven’t seen anything yet.’ ”

A Great Falls, Mont., high school was locked down yesterday after a threatening note was found in a girls’ bathroom.

A student found the threatening note about 12:15 p.m. on a toilet paper dispenser. It stated, “the shooting would start at Great Falls High at 12:30 and it would be worse than Virginia Tech,” Assistant Superintendent Dick Kuntz said. He said it was a hoax.

In Rapid City, S.D., schools were locked down after receiving reports of a man with a gun in a parking lot at Central High. No shots were fired and no injuries were reported, police said.

In Austin, Texas, authorities evacuated buildings at St. Edward’s University after a threatening note was found, a school official said.

Police secured the campus perimeter and were searching the buildings, St. Edward’s University spokeswoman Mischelle Amador said. She declined to reveal where the note was found and said its contents were “nonspecific.”

Seven North Dakota State University buildings in Fargo were evacuated after a duffel bag was found outside a bus shelter in the main part of the campus.

In Bloomfield Hills, Mich., police attributed a 30-minute lockdown at the exclusive Cranbrook Schools complex as a response to jittery nerves after the Virginia slayings.

School officials called police after parents and students reported spotting a 6-foot-tall man in a skirt, high heels, lipstick and a blond wig near a school drop-off area outside Cranbrook’s Kingswood Upper School, Lt. Paul Myszenski said. Police were unable to find anyone meeting the man’s description.

At the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga, officials ordered three campus administration buildings evacuated for almost two hours in response to a telephone bomb threat. The city’s bomb squad searched the buildings but found nothing, campus spokesman Chuck Cantrell said.

In Arizona, classes were canceled at Estrella Mountain Community College in Avondale, a suburb of Phoenix, after a note threatening a shooting was delivered via campus mail.

Avondale police conferred with campus officers and staff and determined that the threat was “serious and immediate” and ordered the evacuation, said Amy Boulton, a police spokeswoman. Officers searched the campus looking for evidence or any threat but nothing was found, she said.

A scare at the University of Oklahoma at Norman started with a report of a man spotted on campus carrying a suspicious object, officials said.

The man was carrying an umbrella, not a weapon, and he later identified himself to authorities, University of Oklahoma President David Boren said.


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