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Police outside a home on Johnston Street searching for a reported gunman.
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Police outside a home on Johnston Street searching for a reported gunman.

Lockdown ends; man had umbrella

By The Daily Reflector

5 Comments | Leave a Comment

A man reported to be carrying a gun toward ECU's campus actually was carrying an umbrella, officials said today.

Reports that he was carrying a gun prompted a three-hour long lockdown of East Carolina University and a large search of campus and the surrounding area by armed police. Officials ended the lockdown just before 1 p.m., and a campuswide email from Chancellor Steve Ballard said the reports turned out to be unfounded.

Scores of police with guns and rifles drawn responded following two 10 a.m. reports that the man was walking on Fifth Street downtown toward campus. A search produced no arrest, officials said, and no hostage situations took place.

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Glad they were cautious

You know, everyone will second guess but if next time they did nothing and many shot killed, and or maimed, then you all would be screaming. Only question I have is why it took police that many hours to track him down and find out it was not a rifle. Again, inefficent police work, for the hours of lost time in class but again the prudent thing was done. Come on Police, do your job more quickly and efficiently ok?

Man with a Gun

A number of years ago a few doors down from where this "gunman" was spotted, there was a well-stocked hardware store, H.L. Hodges and Sons, and they sold firearms, including rifles and shotguns. Since it was (and is) unlawful to carry a concealed rifle, gun purchasers had to openly carry their newly-acquired longarm to their car, usually parked nearby. It is indeed a shame that Americans have been programmed to think that every man carrying a firearm in a public place is a "crazed gunman" and that the required response to such reports is campus-wide lockdowns within 5 miles of the place where the "gunman" was spotted, emergency reactions by a half dozen law enforcement agencies with scores of assault rifle-toting officers and a police helicopter, and minute-to-minute television coverage. I'm not criticizing the response of the media, the university, the public school system or law enforcement officials because, in this day and climate, they have no choice but to respond in this matter -- just the craziness of it all. I'm reminded of the words of FDR given during his first inaugural address in 1933: "Only Thing We Have to Fear Is Fear Itself". How did two independent observers both "see" an assault rifle when there was none? In the video I saw the "gunman" was walking away from the campus, not toward it. If the observers who "saw" the man with the "assault rifle" had taken the time to observe the man's direction of travel, it might have been very helpful to the police. The bigger story in this incident are the crazy reports of hostages being taken and other insane rumors. If anyone needs to be corrected, it's the people who concocted these stories and passed them along. That's why it took police three hours to give the "all clear" nod...

Better safe than sorry.

I know it was a hassle for students and all involved, but I would rather the University take a safe approach than ignore it. We don't want another VT incident.


It's good that they are taking precautions. Hopefully it is a benign type of situation, maybe a color guard member unwittingly carrying an "object".

Not a crock - safety first

Just because only one person was seen with a gun doesn't mean they are the only one! Stay inside as requested and be thankful nothing worse has happened.

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Bless your heart
Bless your heart