Appalachian State University locked down all campus buildings for more than an hour Monday as authorities searched for a man who was seen carrying a gun nearby.
Officials lifted the lockdown shortly after 6:30 p.m., after no further sightings of the suspect were reported.
“Both Appalachian State police and Boone police have been consulting, and they think that the threat no longer remains,” said school spokeswoman Lynn Drury.
Officials asked students to use caution as they left campus, which is roughly 100 miles northwest of Charlotte in the western North Carolina mountains. Authorities remained on alert and asked people to report any suspicious activity. Monday night classes were canceled, but were set to resume Tuesday.
An alert posted on the university’s Web site said a white male in a black Pink Floyd T-shirt and wearing a dark jacket and ski mask was seen near campus with a small black handgun. No shots were fired and no injuries were reported.
Forrest Gilliam, a senior and president of the school’s student government association, said students on campus were alerted over campus public address systems and by e-mail. He was locked down with other students in the campus’ student union.
“Everyone’s relieved,” Gilliam said. “With the technology we had in place, I think communication to the students went well.”
The lockdown came just hours after school officials sent a campus-wide e-mail to students updating them about plans for an emergency messaging service. Many universities are deploying such systems in a response to last year’s shootings at Virginia Tech, where a student gunman killed 32 people and himself last April.
Earlier Monday, police questioned a man who carried a gun into Middle Georgia College in Cochran, about 120 miles south of Atlanta. The college was placed on lockdown as authorities searched the campus. It was lifted around noon, and classes resumed, said college President Mary Ellen Wilson.
The man realized he had a handgun in his vehicle when he went to exchange cars with his brother, a cafeteria worker at the school, and stuck it in his waistband, Cochran Police Chief Jon Thrower said. A student then reported seeing a man with a gun.
During the lockdown, a separate call to a Veterans Affairs center in Dublin touched off another alert when the caller said a student was being held hostage in a dormitory. That call was believed to have been either a hoax or a misunderstanding by a parent about what a student had told them, Thrower said.
At any rate, it led to the dorms being emptied a second time, he said. Meanwhile, authorities learned of the car exchange between the cafeteria worker and his brother, Thrower said.