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Man who caused MSU shelter-in-place undergoing mental health evaluation

Posted at 8:57 AM, Jul 15, 2019
and last updated 2019-07-15 10:57:48-04

BOZEMAN – Montana State University police say a social media threat from a campus employee led to them putting the campus into shelter-in-place mode on Thursday.

We now know that the man taken into custody at Norm Asbjornson Hall was never arrested.

Instead, MSU officials say the man just taken into custody, then taken for a mental health evaluation.

“Everyone is safe,” MSU police chief Frank Parrish said on Thursday. “The university has assumed normal operations.”

Parrish says after hours of locked doors, the man who made a threat against himself and others was found.

“The suspect was located through law enforcement means and taken into custody without incident,” Parrish says.

MSU officials say the man was taken to Hope House after questioning for a mental health evaluation.

At this time, no charges are filed against him.

With the man’s permission, Chief Parrish says police searched his car and his home. It was there that investigators found a loaded shotgun and a hunting rifle.

“Our emergency procedures that we have in place worked extremely well,” Parrish said. “We recently combined with the county’s 911 center.”

“That allowed us to dispatch units simultaneously from multiple agencies, and that was extremely effective in getting units here quickly,” he added.

Gallatin County Sheriff Brian Gootkin also says it was thanks to 911 and the recently changed policy of having all agencies connected to the Gallatin County 911 Center that this situation was taken care of quickly and peacefully.

The man was not arrested, hence why his name is not being released. Police say the man told family that he meant to harm himself and others.

He was scheduled for a dismissal hearing at 2 p.m., nearly two hours after making the threat.

Chief Parrish says investigators found no evidence the man was planning any criminal activity but, out of caution, securing the campus and sending out alerts was the appropriate decision.

“Within a matter of seconds, the campus was clear of most personnel,” Parrish says.

In part of a letter, MSU President Waded Cruzado says “Our emergency alert systems worked as they were designed to be implemented” and “Today, I can say that everybody in our university came out safe from the incident.”

“We are very thankful that the incident ended with everyone being safe and no one harmed,” Parrish says.

Investigators say it is still possible that the man could face charges but, again, is not at this time.

-Cody Boyer reporting for MTN News