- The Washington Times - Thursday, May 4, 2017

Missouri’s Saint Louis University went on lockdown Wednesday evening over what turned out to be a student carrying a rubber-band gun that was part of a class assignment.

The school’s official Twitter account initially reported that “a man wearing a black hoodie and who may have a hand gun” was spotted in Spring Hall, a residence hall on the private Catholic campus.

University spokesman Jeff Fowlertold the St. Louis Post-Dispatch that Spring Hall was quickly evacuated and students relocated.

Several minutes later, the official Twitter account tweeted that shots had been fired outside Marchetti East and that everyone should “shelter in place.”

Authorities later said they found no evidence of a handgun on campus and no shots were fired. It was determined that a second person interviewed by police had been carrying a toy gun. No injuries were reported.

“We have confirmed that the toy gun seen in Spring Hall was part of an assignment in the Aerospace and Mechanical ‘Engineering Manufacturing Procedures’ class,” the university said in a news release Wednesday evening. “The assignment, intended to have students build a working device with interchangeable parts, was to make toy rubber band guns.”

The class instructor said he told students not to display the toy guns outside of class, but at least one student created a “very realistic toy gun” and chose to “openly” carry into his residence hall, the release said.

“This led to today’s alerts and understandable concern and fear on campus,” the university said. “This is the first time toy guns have been made in this class, and it will be the last. The University understands how much anxiety this issue created today and will ensure it does not happen again.”

All of the students who made the rubber-band guns have been told to place them in a closed container and bring them to the Parks College Dean’s Office to be destroyed.

Mr. Fowler said the officials involved with Wednesday’s lockdown responded appropriately.

“You can never take incidents like this lightly,” he told the Post-Dispatch. “It is much, much better to be safe than to be sorry.”

Wednesday’s mixup came two days after a student carrying a hot-glue gun for an art project prompted a four-hour lockdown at Colgate University in New York.

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