Armed man who barricaded himself on DeVry University campus in custodyPosted: Updated:
After converging on the DeVry University campus at 21st and Dunlap avenues Tuesday morning, police have taken an armed man who barricaded himself inside and sparked an evacuation into custody.
It's not yet clear exactly how the situation was resolved, but Sgt. Vince Lewis of the Phoenix Police Department said it came to an end just before 11 a.m., a little more than three hours after things started to unfold.
Police were called to the campus after a man, who is not a student or a member of the faculty, made his way inside the building and asked for an ambulance, Lewis said. That man was armed with a knife. He wound up barricading himself inside a room.
"At this time officers are speaking with him through the door in an attempt to safely make contact," Lewis explained early on in the incident. "No threats were made and no injuries reported."
Aerial video showed several police vehicles on the scene and students milling in the parking lot after being evacuated as a precaution.
By 10:15 a.m., officers still had not made face-to-face contact with the man. It's not clear why he has repeatedly asked for an ambulance.
"His behavior is described as 'erratic' so there could be some health issues, there could be some mental health issues," Lewis said.
[ONLINE: DeVry Phoenix Campus Community]
"We keep hearing mixed rumors about what's really going on and what's happening," one young woman who was arriving for class as students were leaving the building told Marc Liverman. "All we know is that there's someone, it's dangerous and we're out here [in the parking lot]."
Bryan Co, a nursing student, was about to take a final exam when he and some other students were ushered quickly into a classroom.
"They told us we were having a lockdown – a 'real’ one,'" he said. "Basically we did standard lockdown procedures – stayed away from the windows, turned off the lights."
He said they were in that room for what "seemed to be like a little bit more than an hour."
“A lot of people were scared, but nothing was really happening so it wasn’t that scary," Co said.
Another student who also was in that room said they heard several versions of what was happening. He also said students' responses to the unfolding situation were mixed.
"Some people were really calm and then others were running in the hallway," he said. "After we got locked in the classroom, we would see people outside in the halls running. We honestly didn't really know what was going on at the time."
"We have just cleared the area so we can continue that safe conversation and hopefully come to a peaceful resolution with this," Lewis said. "We're gonna do this as slowly and as safely as we possibly can."
"The subject is now in custody," Lewis said just before 11 a.m. "The investigation will continue as officers evaluate what charges may be recommended."
He said police might be able to release details about what happened Tuesday evening or by Wednesday morning.
Donna Shaults, Director of University Relations at DeVry, said in a statement:
"The safety of our students, faculty and staff is our highest priority. On behalf of DeVry University, Chamberlain College of Nursing and Carrington College, which are located at 2149 W. Dunlap Ave, we are pleased to say everyone on campus this morning was safely evacuated without issue. Our concern now is for the health and well-being of the individual. Our campus community is well prepared to address these types of incidents and today successfully enacted our active intruder protocol."
Classes at DeVry University Phoenix have been canceled for the rest of the day.
DeVry University Phoenix is one of three DeVry locations in the metro area. The others are in Glendale and Mesa. The university offers undergraduate degrees in technology, health and business and graduate degrees in business.
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