The University of South Florida (USF) was locked down for a time on Monday after someone reported a man with a gun and a bomb near the library. Police were holding a man in custody following the incident.
No one reported shots being fired or injuries and students were told to return to their normal routine.
Vincent Thomas-Perry McCoy, 23, a USF student, was arrested and charged with making a false report.
The Tampa Police Department’s bomb squad examined his backpack and determined it was safe, police said. He had no weapons on him and was cooperative, USF Police Lieutenant Meg Ross said.
McCoy was being held on US$7,500 bond. He did not yet have an attorney.
A second person who was reportedly carrying a knife on campus was detained, but police said they believe it was unrelated.
The first call came in at 1.36pm to the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office, which transferred it to campus police.
A siren interrupted classes. An announcement over a loud speaker said there was an intruder and students should stay inside and lock their doors, said Amanda Barnes, an 18-year-old international studies major.
School administrators also sent several text messages to students.
“A lot of people were like, ‘OK. I’m going to go up to my room, and no big deal,’” Barnes said. “A couple of people were like, ‘Oh my God. I’m so scared.’”
At about 3.30pm, police also reported a man wearing a black tank top and cowboy hat, carrying a black puppy and a large hunting knife on campus.
Ross said that the man was being questioned, but it didn’t seem related to the earlier report of a man carrying a gun and a bomb.
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