College accidentally sends texts stating there was an active shooter
Police found and detonated what appeared to be a pipe bomb device at Hennepin Technical College’s Brooklyn Park campus Sept. 14, according to the Brooklyn Park Police Department.
The incident resulted in evacuation of the building, as well as cancellation of classes for the day.
While the incident occurred, the college accidentally and incorrectly sent text messages to students saying there was an active shooter on campus.
At approximately 11:20 a.m., police were dispatched to the college on a report of a suspicious item underneath a chair in a commons area where students could sit before entering a set of offices.
A college staff member found the item and reported it to campus security, who contacted the police.
Officers “immediately recognized it to be consistent with what looked like an explosive device,” said Mark Bruley, deputy chief of the Brooklyn Park Police Department. He described it as a pipe bomb.
A Minneapolis bomb squad and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms responded to the scene to investigate, Bruley said. The device was removed from the school, brought to a safe area on school property, and intentionally detonated, he said.
“The functionality of the device is still unknown at this time. It was clear to us that it was intentionally made to appear as an explosive, but because it was disrupted for safety reasons, we actually don’t know what its capacity was, or if it was even capable of being detonated on its own,” Bruley added.
A cooperative investigation with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms is ongoing. The item in question will be examined by a crime lab and the bureau to determine its capability.
There are cameras in the facility that will be incorporated into the investigation.
The police department is not aware of any threats that have been made in relation to the device.
Classes resumed as normally scheduled on Sept. 15.
“At the end of the day, when you move really quickly, you don’t really have a panic,” Abrams said.
According to a Minnesota state press release, an e-mail alert correctly alerted students to the situation, but due to human error, an automated text message went out to the campus community stating that there was a possible active shooter.
“We realized that it was a human error … if anybody’s used the system, there’s a couple boxes you check as you send out a group announcement, and there was a third box that was not checked,” Abrams said.
“This was a perfect example of how, if we see something, we’re going to act right away, and we’re going to do the thing that’s most secure for our students,” she added.
The Eden Prairie location of Hennepin Tech was not impacted by the incident.
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