A message found in University Hall on Sept. 13 mentioned a shooting, but was later deemed a prank following an investigation.
The message, which stated “I’m expecting a shooting on Friday at 4,” was written on the ground floor assistant resident advisor’s board outside the dorm room, which had previously stated the ARA was expecting a fire drill the next day.
According to the Bradley Police Department report summary, one student saw the suspect, who is a University Hall resident, write the message.
The Bradley University Police Department Chief of Police Brian Joschko said he did not believe students were in danger.
“The facts and circumstances of the incident were reviewed and, after much consideration and consultation, a determination was made to not issue either a foreWarn emergency notification or a safety alert for several reasons,” Joschko said.
Some of those reasons, he said, were a cooperative suspect, a determination that the message was not a true threat and officer presence in the building.
“We had numerous officers inside and outside the facility and at no time were any students, faculty or staff in any danger,” he said. “Additionally, that evening, the Vice President for Student Affairs [Alan Galsky], Executive Director of Residential Living and Leadership [Nathan Thomas] and I went floor by floor, meeting with all of the residents present in the building and explained the circumstances.”
The report summary stated that after police located the suspect, they transported him to the BUPD for questioning. Following the interview, where he reportedly did not want to
speak further about the incident, the student was arrested for disorderly conduct and brought to the Peoria County Jail. He was later released on a Notice to Appear and returned to the residence hall.
The male and his roommate allowed police to search their dorm, where they found empty beer cans and liquor bottles, a water bottle with a small amount of alcohol inside and a pocket knife.
Thomas said a group of administration members, including himself, Galsky and Joschko met after the incident and decided how to proceed.
“There wasn’t a lot of lapse time,” he said. “We investigated, found out what was going on and quickly met to discuss the actions that needed to be taken before visiting each floor. Clearly there was a lag time but it wasn’t like were were sitting around wondering what to do.”
Thomas said they visited each floor to explain the incident because they felt that was the most appropriate option.
“It was more that we wanted to do face-to-face communication on the event,” he said. “The students were respectful and cooperative and made things less tense.”
Freshman mechanical engineering major Joe Matejovsky said though he is a University Hall resident, he wasn’t alarmed by the message.
“I understood it was a prank, so I wasn’t that scared,” he said. “I can see how [whoever did it) thought it was just a joke, but people were still worried.”
Freshman elementary education major Jen Wolf, also a University Hall resident, said the initial commotion after the incident made her nervous.
“At first I was really confused because the [resident advisor]said there was a threat in U-hall and the police were coming. That freaked me out,” she said. “But once I heard the actual story I didn’t feel unsafe. Overall I think I feel bad for the guy because he was trying to be funny, but it’s a serious thing you can’t joke about.”
Wolf said she felt comforted by the university’s response.
“I think it was great and very reassuring that they took it so seriously and didn’t play it off like a joke,” she said.