SMU Students Question "Active Shooter" Alert

By Jeff Smith
|  Friday, May 10, 2013  |  Updated 6:07 PM CDT
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Officials at Southern Methodist University say they made the right call when they locked down campus and put out an

Ken Kalthoff, NBC 5 News

Officials at Southern Methodist University say they made the right call when they locked down campus and put out an "active shooter" alert on Friday morning, after it turned out there was no gun and no shots fired.

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SMU Students Question Active Shooter Alert

SMU's campus was put on an "active shooter" lockdown for about 10 minutes Friday morning, as police searched for a suicidal man they believed to be armed.
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SMU's campus was put on an "active shooter" lockdown for about 10 minutes Friday morning, as police searched for a suicidal man they believed to be armed.

SMU called, texted, and e-mailed students about the lockdown. They also sent out several tweets about the "active shooter" search.

The use of that phrase brought many students to tears. Several students told NBC 5 they believed an armed man was walking around campus shooting at students, but that was not the case.

Kelsey Charles was in the middle of her journalism final when phones started beeping and ringing left and right.

"Everyone's phone was simultaneously blowing up. We got a phone call, I got two phone calls with the same information. And we actually got an email too," Charles said. "They all said the same thing. Active shooter, active shooter on campus."

Dallas police said a man called police saying he was armed and he was going to hurt himself. He was spotted walking around near campus, though no one saw a gun.

"We ended up going to the bathroom and locking the door and turning the lights off. A couple of the girls I was with were crying and calling their parents and letting them know they're OK," Charles said.

The school jumped into action and initiated an active shooter lockdown around 9:30 a.m., meaning no one was allowed in or out of any school buildings.

SMU said that since the man's location was being tracked through his mobile phone, they began lockdown procedures as he approached.

"The University acted out of an abundance of caution based on information provided regarding the possible proximity of the suspect to campus," the university said in a statement Friday afternoon.

No shots were fired and the only weapons found on the man in question were two small pocketknives, police said.

NBC 5's Frank Heinz contributed to this report.

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