Facts lost in commotion during incident at CU-Boulder

9NEWS @ 9. 10/5/2016

BOULDER - After a day of commotion and swirling rumors, University of Colorado Boulder took to social media to set the record straight.

What happened on Wednesday was confusing to many who heard conflicting reports from friends and even the university. 

Around 9 a.m., a man police say menaced people with a machete was shot dead in the stairwell of the Champions Center. That area was given the all clear around 9:40 a.m.

What happened later that afternoon is where things get confusing.

Around 1:25 p.m., the university tweeted police officers had rushed to the University Memorial Center and College Avenue on a false report of an active shooter.

Hundreds of students and staff inside the UMC and others taking part in a career fair outside the building were evacuated after the false report. Sophomore Raine Roberts was inside the UMC eating lunch when people started running out of the building. 

“You just saw all of these people just running and trampling over each other and [my friend] grabbed me and we ran,” Roberts said.

They said the scene was all clear and nothing was found.

Twenty-five minutes later, CU tweeted there were unconfirmed reports of an active harmer at the UMC.

Shortly after that, the school said the reports of an active shooter at the UMC were believed to be a hoax.

It was around this time that 9NEWS began getting phone calls and emails with various theories. A man with green hair (who some were calling a clown) was supposedly arrested near the UMC and thought to be connected to the report of the "active harmer". CU confirmed while a man with green hair was contacted, he was not involved in any of the incidents on Wednesday. 

"He also did not have any weapons," the CU post said.

Another theory revolved around the university itself and its alert system. Tweets surfaced from CU students accusing the text alert system of being hacked. On Facebook and Twitter, the school defended its technology.

"Those systems were not hacked. Some have asked us about the 'false report' concerning the incident at the UMC," the post read. "This was actually referencing that the report of an active shooter inside the UMC was false and not that the sent text message was false."

Other students expressed anger as to why the school didn't close after the shooting.

"I know this was confusing and alarming for people in these locations, and we support anyone who decided they needed to leave," a statement from Chancellor Philip P. DiStefano read.

After the university announced the UMC had been “secured” and there was “no active threat,” police spent hours sweeping the building and cataloging the belongings left inside. Students waited outside the building hoping to be allowed back inside.

“Yeah it was very frustrating because you know everyone everybody wants their stuff,” CU freshman Mikel Zimmerman said.

Staff members from the UMC initially announced to students they would not be allowed to retrieve their belongings Wednesday, prompting many like Raine Roberts to head home. They later said students would be escorted to pick up their belongings from the UMC from 7 to 9 p.m. 

If students missed that window, access to the UMC for belonging retrieval will begin Thursday at 9 p.m.

Outside of the machete-wielding suspect, no other injuries were reported.

Copyright 2016 KUSA


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