Editor’s Note: Additional details have become available as University Police and Housing and Residential Education complete their investigation of this incident.
At approximately 11:45 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 19, a reportedly intoxicated male student entered Sage Point Building 813 and began banging on what he thought was his friend’s suite door. When the female residents of the suite did not open the door, he reportedly said he had both a knife and a gun and threatened to harm the residents. After detaining and questioning the suspect, police reported that he had neither a gun nor a knife in his possession.
While residents of the building called 911, the student realized he had the wrong door and connected with his friend one floor down.
At the same time, another male resident of the floor messaged that he was responding to the commotion. When police encountered him in the hall, he told them he had a concealed weapon permit and a gun in a holster on his hip.
When University Police responded, they detained the armed “Good Samaritan,” the intoxicated student and his friend for questioning. At 1 a.m., Sunday, Nov. 20, with the aggressive actors detained, police went door to door to make certain all residents were safe.
The student who made threatening statements has been referred to the Dean of Students for discipline.
While police determined there was no further threat that night, students and parents have expressed frustration about the way that information was communicated to them. A statement about the incident was issued at 5 p.m. on Sunday, Nov. 20.
University leaders are working to develop a more timely communication pathway with resident advisors and all Housing and Residential Education residents for imminent situations in the future.
“We acknowledge how traumatic this whole experience has been for the students in this residence hall and throughout our student housing,” said Keith Squires, Chief Safety Officer. “We have learned from this incident and will implement changes immediately to improve our real-time communication methods and follow-up.”
University Safety victim advocates are working with the victim-survivors in this case. Anyone impacted by the incident is encouraged to reach out to victim advocates at the Student Wellness Center and at University Safety.
Housing & Residential Education community members,
At approximately 1 a.m. this morning University of Utah Police responded to initial reports of a disruptive situation involving multiple students at one of the Sage Point residence halls. Misinformation has since spread to indicate this was an active shooter scenario. To be clear, this incident was NOT an active shooter situation.
Police immediately responded and quickly determined this was not a current or ongoing threat to the community. Out of an abundance of caution police officers completed a door-to-door check of every room to ensure the safety of all residents in the building. Police detained and questioned three student residents involved in the incident. The students have also been referred to the Office of the Dean of Students to determine if any additional violations occurred.
While there was no threat to campus, we recognize the situation was traumatic and we apologize for the delay in timely communication about the situation. We encourage you to reach out to your Resident Assistant with any additional concerns or questions.
We encourage all residents to continue to contact the police whenever needed.
Executive Director, Housing and Residential Education
Interim Chief, University of Utah Police