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Police swarm campus after false report

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Law enforcement vehicles are shown on Poindexter Street near the Mid-Atlantic Christian University campus in Elizabeth City, Wednesday. Elizabeth City police said they arrested a man who they've charged with falsely reporting a shooting on the campus.

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From staff reports

Friday, April 5, 2019

ELIZABETH CITY — Police arrested a 33-year-old man this week after a false report about a shooting sparked a massive law enforcement response on the campus of Mid-Atlantic Christian University.

Travis Hunter, whose last known address was the 900 block of North Poindexter St., Elizabeth City, was charged Wednesday with making a false report about mass violence on educational property and resisting, delaying or obstructing an officer, according to the Elizabeth City Police Department.

Hunter was detained in Albemarle District Jail in lieu of a $10,000 secured bond, police spokeswoman Sgt. Latoya K. Flanigan said in the release. Hunter’s first court appearance is scheduled for this morning.

According to Flanigan, Hunter is suspected of falsely reporting a shooting at MACU about 10:14 a.m. Wednesday. The call drew a response from dozens of law enforcement officials, including the Elizabeth City Police Department, Pasquotank County Sheriff’s Office, Alcohol Law Enforcement, and the N.C. Highway Patrol. Emergency Medical Services also sent ambulance crews and other responders to the scene.

Officers locked down MACU and, clad in bulletproof vests, swept the campus looking for the reported shooter.

However, there was no evidence of a shooting and no MACU students or staff were injured in the incident, according to police and Pasquotank Sheriff Tommy Wooten.

While searching the Harold C. Turner dormitory, officers found Hunter on the second floor, Flanigan said. Hunter is not a MACU student or employee, and didn’t have permission to be in the building, she said.

Hunter was arrested, Flanigan said, after police determined he made the call to Pasquotank-Camden Central Communications, falsely reporting a shooting at MACU.

In a followup email, Flanigan said the department is still investigating how Turner entered the building, and what his motive was in allegedly reporting a false shooting.

MACU also reported that students sheltered in place following the reported threat, and, after officers cleared the scene, classes resumed at 2 p.m.

The major, rapid law enforcement response caused quite a scene on and around MACU, located north of downtown on Poindexter Street. Two bystanders commented they were painting campus housing across the street when they heard sirens and saw the swarm of officers’ vehicles.

“They came in like gangbusters,” one man said. The painters said they overheard officers discussing shots fired, but noted they heard no shots, despite being outside at the time.

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