NEW HAVEN, Conn. (AP) — Yale University was locked down for nearly six hours Monday as authorities responded to a phone call warning that an armed man was heading to shoot up the school that they are investigating as a likely hoax.
Police did not find a gunman after SWAT teams searched the Ivy League campus and a lockdown was lifted Monday afternoon. No one was injured, police said.
“New Haven is safe. The Yale campus is safe,” said New Haven Police Chief Dean Esserman.
A 911 call was received at 9:48 a.m. from a man at a pay phone about a mile from the campus who said his roommate was on the way to the university to shoot people, said Officer David Hartman, a New Haven Police spokesman.
Esserman said he was leaning toward the incident being a hoax and that a witness who reported seeing someone with a rifle likely saw a law enforcement officer.
“Though it is starting to tilt in the direction of an innocent mistake, it started with a purposeful and malicious call,” Esserman said, vowing to track down and arrest the person who made the call.
Authorities do not believe the caller was a Yale student or that his roommate attended Yale, Esserman said. There was nothing specific about the threat, he said, and the call lasted only seconds.
Many students and staff members left campus for the Thanksgiving holiday following Saturday’s traditional football game against Harvard.
But many were still in their dorm rooms, Hartman said, and Yale authorities sent out their first warning at 10:17 a.m., about a half hour after the 911 call.
“The Yale police made the right call,” Esserman said. “They went to immediate lockdown to keep everybody safe.”
Yale advised students and staff members to shelter in place. The school also issued an advisory asking people off campus to stay away from the area. The shelter advisory was lifted by late afternoon.