Police: Man with gun on campus may be part of love triangle
Updated March 23 4:57 p.m.
Police believe the man who brandished a gun in Eagle's Nest on March 22 may be part of a love triangle with a male Bon Appétit employee and an unknown woman. Officials are still searching for the suspect as of 4 p.m. March 23
Metropolitan Police Department and Public Safety officials will be patrolling the area in and around campus.
The woman allegedly involved with both men told the employee that someone would see him at work, according to Capt. Gerry Scott, midnight watch commander for MPD's Second District.
The man entered Eagle's Nest shortly before 7 p.m. and fled the scene minutes later, according to MPD Sgt. J.K. Tolliver. The Eagle's Nest employee called police to report the incident.
This was an isolated incident and students should not be nervous, Scott said.
The suspect is a 5-foot-11 black male in his 20s with a slim build, and was wearing a tan jacket and ski mask in the store. Police have increased their presence in the University area and are searching for the suspect, MPD officials said.
MPD and Secret Service officials responded to the scene at 7:04 p.m. No students were inside of the store at the time of the incident, MPD Sgt. J.K. Tolliver said.
An AU Alert was issued at 7:42 p.m. notifying the AU community of the the gunman. Campus facilities and services were continuing to operate as normal, the alert said.
"[Police] were looking for him," Public Safety Sgt. Andrew Yocum said. "He is not a threat anymore."
Police have classified the incident as a felony threat, Tolliver said. Wearing a ski mask to intimidate others or avoid identification while committing a crime is also a misdemeanor under the D.C. Anti-Hood-and-Mask Law.
Public Safety and MPD officials interviewed Bon Appétit employees who were in the store at the time of the incident. At least four law enforcement agents were still on the scene as of 8:30 p.m.
Another AU Alert was issued at 8:16 p.m. announcing an "all clear." Eagle's Nest has resumed regular service.
"[The crime] is being investigated and that's all [the University] can provide at this point," AU spokeswoman Camille Lepre, assistant vice president of communications, said.
Bon Appétit Retail Service Manager Derek Nottingham did not comment on the situation, citing The Eagle's "history of reporting on us [the company]."
College of Arts and Sciences freshman Isabella Blanchard was surprised when she heard about the gunman on campus, but believed AU effectively informed students about the situation.
"I thought the AU Alert did a pretty good job of telling us about how MPD was taking care of it," Blanchard said.
However, CAS freshman Kate Porter said she thought the AU Alerts could have been more detailed.
"I was wondering if he was dangerous or if he was just carrying a weapon and someone saw it and made a big deal of it, or if he threatened someone with the gun," Porter said.
Blanchard said she had thought about safety earlier in the day because of the Steubenville, Ohio rape case, but that she generally feels very safe walking on campus.
"But some things are out of our control," Blanchard said.
Everard Gaither, a Bon Appétit worker at the Eagle's Nest front register, said the incident did not make him feel any less safe on campus. However, Gaither said Bon Appétit has not provided him with training on how to handle a gunman in Eagle's Nest.
"[There] wouldn't be anything I could do," Gaither said of the gunman's potential return.
The Eagle last reported on an armed incident in 2005, when a resident of the Avalon Foxhall apartments in the 4100 block of Massachusetts Avenue NW was shot and wounded during an attempted robbery. The shooting involved two AU students, according to a Public Safety email.
Eagle staff writers Tori Dalcourt, Suzanne Gaber, Amber Cohen, Rachel Karas and Alex Greco contributed to this report.