Monmouth University students remain on edge following shelter-in-place incident

There were reports of an armed person on campus, but authorities now say that it was a false alarm and that it was simply a person carrying a curling iron.

Matt Trapani and Chris Keating

Mar 23, 2023, 8:58 AM

Updated 476 days ago

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Things are returning to normal at Monmouth University following a campuswide shelter-in-place Wednesday night that lasted into early Thursday morning.
There were reports of an armed person on campus, but authorities now say that it was a false alarm and that it was simply a person carrying a curling iron.
Some students tell News 12 New Jersey that they were dealing with feelings of panic as they locked themselves in bathrooms and bedrooms waiting for the all-clear – a message that didn’t come until 1:45 a.m.
“Obviously it was just a horrifying incident anytime you hear about this kind of thing,” says student Abby Brooks.
Student Israel Abreu saw the alerts while in his apartment. He shut off the lights. He got a knock on the door at 12:15 a.m. and was told to evacuate to the dining hall by police officers in tactical gear.
“We went from the apartments to the dining hall, which is a five-minute walk. We were surrounded by 20 cops,” Abreu says.
Abreu says two things didn’t help to ease the minds of students: rumors and the gap between communication.
“There were definitely a lot of rumors,” he says. "At first there were reports of like three gunshots. My friends who live in the Gardens, they were like, ‘Oh, we heard gunshots and fell to the floor out of panic.’”
The other issue was a two-hour gap from 9:50 p.m. to 11:50 p.m. with no word from the university.
“In that gap, there were rumors of shots being fired and things like that. Everyone started to freak out about that,” says Brooks.
Brooks says she had a friend on campus working in a study lounge who had hidden away in a bathroom. She had been texting with her. That friend didn't move from that spot until police came.
“They were just texting us terrified the whole time because they were in this pitch-black bathroom not knowing what was going on,” says Brooks.
The university had been sending messages through an emergency alert system, via email and through its Twitter account. At 1:42 a.m. it finally gave the all-clear.
All morning classes were canceled on Thursday. Classes and offices opened at noon.
The university sent a message to students, stating, "…if you find attending class today to be of some challenge, you are encouraged to reach out to your faculty member individually to make appropriate arrangements for your absence from class today…Now is the time to practice compassion for others and ourselves.”
News 12 has been told there were students on another part of campus who also believe they heard gunshots. They don't believe the police are telling the full truth. There are no official reports of gunfire.


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