As of 8 a.m. Thursday morning, Ohio University reopened its Athens campus. Classes resumed as usual, but the armed suspect who pulled off an off campus robbery that closed the school on Wednesday is still at large. OUPD is investigating.
It was a memorable morning at Ohio University, but for all the wrong reasons...a text message with a university emergency alert informed students that an armed gunman was on the loose near campus.
"We sometimes get emergency alerts all the time so we didn't think it was that big of a deal," says sophomore Ali Fortney. "Then we didn't hear really anything else about it for maybe another hour, hour and a half when they actually locked down classes and shut down the university."
Violence in schools across the country hits a nerve close to home when OU students face their own reality as they go to class.
"I knew I was going to be walking around campus a lot and when you hear that someone has a gun, especially with everything going on lately around the world, all the -- the Sandy Hook shooting, everything-- definitely scares you," Fortney says.
OU has been telling its students to lay low until campus reopens in 24 hours.
"Staying inside is what I'm going to do," says Colin Rogers, a sophomore. "There's no reason to leave and go anywhere else; I already have food here. I'm just definitely going to protect myself."
January 30 went from a serene (and rainy) college campus to every student's worst nightmare... a gunman on the loose.
"We don't normally have things happen during the day here," Fortney says. "It's just a quiet campus, quiet community, nothing like this really ever happens."
Giving students the facts, local law enforcement put Colin's mind at ease when it mattered he most.
"I think they've been doing an outstanding job," he says. "We've gotten multiple notifications directly to our cellphones or e-mail, letting us know exactly what is going on."
Ohio University officials closed the campus for the day following the search for a man who ran toward campus after an armed robbery.
A robbery suspect considered armed and dangerous is at large near the Athens campus of Ohio University.
All individuals in the vicinity of the school should be on high alert and call the OUPD immediately if you see the suspect or observe any suspicious activity. Additional officers are currently patrolling the area.
OUPD first reported an armed robbery at Station Street Apartments shortly before 10 a.m. this morning. The fugitive is described as an African-American male, 6'1"--6'2", wearing a blue hoodie and blue jeans and carrying a handgun. He was seen fleeing toward the Stocker Center/Oxbow trail area.
The Athens Campus is not on "lockdown," though increased security measures have been implemented in several buildings and departments, including:
All in-hall residential housing staff must be available in their buildings/common areas to answer questions and provide advice to students (residence halls are locked 24/7).
Full-time staff is stationed at all Baker Center entrances to report suspicious activity.
Recreation facilities (Ping, Bird, Aquatic Center, etc.) has full-time staff at all entrances to report suspicious activity.