New Castle News

Closer Look

February 20, 2014

Local college campus locked down

NEW CASTLE — An incident involving an unarmed student prompted a local college to be locked down for more than an hour Wednesday.

About 200 students at Butler County Community College’s Lawrence Crossing campus on West State Street in Union Township were instructed to remain in their locked classrooms for about an hour and a half.

While students were locked down, a male student was apprehended in one classroom, detained by township police, then released without charges. His name was not released.

Susan Changnon, executive director of communications and marketing for the college, said the incident began when a man from the area near the school chased a student into the building about 11:15 a.m. She said he had believed the student was a suspect in a break-in.

The student eluded the man and went to his class. College security officials were notified the student was in the building, which was immediately locked down. Security officials then reviewed surveillance tape from cameras around the property. The student was identified on the tape as the one the man had been chasing and authorities apprehended him in his classroom at noon. He was not armed and offered no resistance. The lockdown was lifted at 12:40 p.m.

During the lockdown, students shared their plight with family and friends via social media, Changnon said. Students who were en route to class were notified by the college to stay home.

Union Township police, who handled the case, could not be reached Wednesday for further information. Pennsylvania State Police and the Lawrence County Sheriff’s Department assisted.

Changnon said emergency procedures were in place and students remained calm. Notifications were placed on the school’s website when the lockdown was in effect and when it was lifted.

Changnon said the college has had only one other lockdown and that occurred at its Brockway, Pa., campus. Other Butler County Community College locations are the main campus in Butler, Cranberry Township in Butler County, Linden Pointe in Mercer County and Brockway in Jefferson County.

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