UCONN campus under control after gun threat

July 24, 2012 4:37:08 AM PDT
A gunman who forced authorities close the University of Connecticut's Avery Point campus committed suicide Tuesday morning after spending the night in a standoff with police.

The man, whose name was not immediately released, shot himself near some docks on the shoreline campus just before dawn, said Lt. J. Paul Vance, a state police spokesman.

The incident began at about 5 p.m. Monday when Groton police began looking for local man who was armed and despondent, Vance said. The man's car was found at about 10 p.m. at Avery Point, prompting police to close the campus.

There were about 50 high school students on the campus at the time, attending an oceanography camp, and they were kept overnight inside a campus building under police guard, Vance said.

None of the students were ever in danger, said University spokeswoman Stephanie Reitz.

The gunman was found on the shoreline, on the opposite side of the campus, armed with a handgun.

Police spent hours talking to him, but he eventually threw away his cellphone and refused to communicate further, Vance said.

When the man began waving his gun, police tried other non-lethal tactics, including firing bean-bags at the suspect, and setting off a flash bomb as a diversion, Vance said. But the suspect turned the gun on himself before dawn, taking his own life, Vance said.

"It was a very dangerous situation for everyone involved," he said.

His name has not been released. The school was set to reopen at 8 a.m.

Avery Point is regional campus of the university with about 800 students. It houses the school's marine science programs.

Official Statement from the UCONN Spokesperson Stephanie Reitz:
"At approximately 10pm officers from the UConn Police Department located a despondent male who was threatening to harm himself with a firearm on the UConn Avery Point Campus. The male was found in a remote location on the campus and alone. Officers are currently negotiating for his surrender."

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