UCFPD responds to possible armed person sighting on campus

Photo by Isabelle D'Antonio

Earlier today, an Uber driver called the UCF Police Department and reported an individual with a rifle on campus.

The last place the Uber driver reported seeing the person, who police identified as a suspicious individual, was near Millican Hall. UCFPD searched the surrounding area, including the UCF Library.

“We received no other calls, no other sightings, and with as many people that are on campus, that’s a pretty good indicator as well,” UCFPD Chief Richard Beary said.

Twenty-five UCFPD officers arrived at the scene within seconds and immediately began searching the area, Beary said. They established a perimeter once on scene and finished sweeping the area 50 minutes later after determining it was safe and clear.

UCFPD was not able to identify anyone suspicious or a threat in the area. Officers cleared the area in about an hour.

“With the ‘If You See Something, Say Something,’ we want people to let us know,” Chief Beary said. “But sometimes you get these and you find no threat. We’re glad to report there’s no threat.”

UCFPD utilized alert texts and social media outlets to keep the UCF community informed on the developing story. The department sent out tweets to followers, asking for any sightings or additional information.

Erin Rose, a junior elementary education major, was on her way to the library when she received the UCF Alert text urging students to steer clear of the area.

“I feel like there always might be something going on that we don’t realize,” Rose, 20, said. “I think I was more freaked out that there were helicopters flying around.”

Last April, UCFPD responded to a report of a suspicious person in the library. They took action and cleared the area from any danger.

Chief Beary said the Pulse tragedy played a bigger role in UCFPD’s response to the incident today than the report of an armed person on campus last April.

“The situation in April is not what is really relevant to us,” Chief Beary said. “What’s relevant to us is June 12, with the Pulse situation. It changed everyone’s response plans … Pulse has changed everybody across this country, every law enforcement agency’s response to these kind of calls.”

This situation can be used to prepare students and make them more attuned to what is happening around them, Chief Beary said. He claimed the campus culture as a whole is “ingrained in safety.”

UCF is now operating normally. UCFPD encourages students to continue reporting any unsafe activities or concerns. UCFPD can be reached at (407) 823 – 5555.