STARKVILLE, Miss. — There was quite a bit of uncertainty and fear about reports of a shooting at Mississippi State University on Thursday morning. Those reports, many of which circulated on social media, were false.
Sid Salter, Chief Communications Officer at Mississippi State University, told WHNT News 19 by phone the situation has been resolved and no shots were fired. However, the school was on lockdown because it received a 'credible threat,' he said.
Salter said at 9:55 a.m. the Mississippi State Police Department received a call from an agency in Jackson. The agency, which Salter declined to name, said they received a 'credible threat' from a student who said they were on MSU's campus, threatening "suicide and homicide" according to Salter.
Salter said the school issued a "Maroon Alert" at 10:15 a.m. ordering campus to go on lockdown.
At 10:26 a.m. campus police took the student in custody at McCool Hall, MSU's College of Business.
The student is identified as Thu-Qui Cong Nguyen, and is a freshman in computer engineering. Nguyen is from Madison, Mississippi and goes by the Americanized name "Bill." He is in custody and being questioned.
Salter stressed that shots were never fired and no weapon was recovered.
The school gave the "ALL CLEAR" at 11 a.m. and classes will resume at 2 p.m. Thursday.
Social media reports
Many reports circulated on social media saying shots were heard. Video circulated showing students running on campus when reports of an active shooter surfaced.
Mississippi State's emergency alert system on Thursday warned of a potential active shooter on campus and asked people to seek safety. The university said that a suspected shooter was in custody, but then said there were no reports of shots being fired.
An all-clear was given less than an hour after the initial alert.
— Hilary Hunt (@Hilary_TV) August 27, 2015
The university's alert system denied there were additional reports of danger and urged students to remain calm.
Hannah Jordan, an MSU student, said she saw people jumping out of windows at the building where the incident had been reported. From her vantage point in a nearby building, she saw police pull a man outside and handcuff him.
"I didn't see a gun at all or ever hear any shots," she said.
Confusion ruled, and no matter what police determine after talking to the person of interest, the MSU community was left shaken.
Tweets from the campus and Starkville community were filled with descriptions of people running as fast as they ever have, feeling traumatized, and calling it the "scariest moment of my life."
Photo taken outside McCool Hall on MSU campus. Police have one person in custody. Stay indoors until all clear. pic.twitter.com/7QwmQj5O6L
— Scot Pilie' (@ScotPilie_Wx) August 27, 2015
— Tyler S. Brain (@Tyler_Brain) August 27, 2015
Thankful for report of no injuries, and for the quick actions of campus and law enforcement authorities that kept us safe. Great work!
— Scott Stricklin (@ScottStricklin) August 27, 2015
Thursday evening, Mississippi State University released the call transcript for the call received by MSU PD from the Mississippi Highway Safety Patrol.
MHP: Hey, Tina. Quinton Williams. I’m with the Mississippi Highway Patrol. You guys are aware you are going to possibly have an active shooter on campus at this time?
MSU: No. I had a suicide call from Jackson saying the guy was suicidal at Carpenter Hall. What was she (the caller) saying to you?
MHP: Well, she was saying the guy was going to actually shoot others as well as himself. He’s, at this point, in Carpenter Hall.
MSU: Did she say what room?
MHP: She did not say what room that he was in, but they still have her actively on the line as we are speaking now. The subject’s name is Bill Nguyen. He is going to be an Oriental male. Does that help any?
MSU: MSU to all units, we have a possible active shooter in Carpenter Hall. This is not a test. Vietnamese male. Do not know what floor. Just know he’s a Vietnamese male by the name of Bill. This is not a test.