Police: ‘Person With a Gun’ at Northwestern University was swatting hoax

Police sounded an "all-clear" on the campus of the suburban Chicago college after reports of a gunman

Englehart Hall, Northwestern University (Photo: Surly Duff / Wikimedia Commons)

Reports of a possible armed individual on the campus of Northwestern University in suburban Chicago turned out to be a hoax, police say.

The “shots fired” call sent officers to a graduate dorm on the Evanston, Ill., campus. But no person with a weapon was located and eventually security determined it was a case of “swatting” or falsely reporting a shooting to the police, according to the Chicago Tribune.

Fake call

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Wednesday afternoon, students, faculty and employees at Northwestern were told to shelter in place while police searched for a potential shooter. Evanston police were called with reports of a person who had shot his girlfriend at the dorm, but the woman was found unhurt, and there was no evidence that any shooting had taken place.

The unidentified woman spoke with police and said she and her boyfriend were not experiencing any domestic problems. After a search had been undertaken, police determined there was no threat and an “all-clear” was given.

“We have not located any indication of a shooting as described,” Evanston Police Cmdr. Ryan Glew, Evanston police spokesperson, told reporters.

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Coinciding with walkout

It is unclear if the hoax was played as a response to National Walkout Day in which students across the country staged a walkout from their classes in response to the Parkland, Fla., shooting last month and other gun violence at schools nationwide.

However, many Northwestern students did participate in the walkout themselves, supporting the national effort. Many marched through the campus chanting and carrying protest signs.