September 26, 2007
A gunman carrying a rifle in a plastic bag was apprehended this
afternoon on St. John’s University’s Queens Campus without
incident, due to the heroic efforts of a University Public Safety
Officer (Dan Boylan) and a St. John’s student (Christopher Benson),
enrolled in the NYPD Cadet Program.
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The incident occurred at approximately 2:30 p.m. after students
tipped the University’s Public Safety Office to the suspect’s
whereabouts outside an academic building. Within minutes a heavy
NYPD presence secured the entire grounds of the Queens Campus.
Immediately afterward, the University’s Emergency Response Plan,
including its “Text Messaging System,” went into effect. At
2:38 p.m., the St. John’s community was advised to stay in
classrooms and remain in buildings and offices until the campus
could be secured. All classes were immediately cancelled for the
remainder of the day.
“I am grateful that the plan which we had in place for emergency
situations worked and worked well,” said Rev. Donald J. Harrington,
C.M., President of St. John’s University. “And, I’m also grateful
for the vigilance of our students who alerted us to the problem,
our Public Safety Office’s quick response and the NYPD, who arrived
on campus only minutes after a 911 call to assume full
responsibility for the safety of our campus.”
The University’s “Text Messaging System” went into effect at the
beginning of the 2007-08 school year after concerns regarding the
Virginia Tech tragedy. Students sign up for the program online and
receive emergency information from the University
“We’re going to continue to push to have everyone sign up for
the text messaging service,” said St. John’s University’s Vice
President for Public Safety, Thomas Lawrence. “The message got out
quickly today and we were fortunate that no one was hurt.”
The NYPD conducted a thorough four-hour investigation and has
deemed the campus safe for classes and regular business hours to
resume on Thursday, September 27. Due to an ongoing investigation
by the NYPD, no other details regarding the suspect are available
at this time.
For more information contact Dominic Scianna, Director of Media
Relations at St. John’s University by calling (718) 990-6185 or
e-mail inquiries to email@example.com.
Updates on the incident will be reported as they become available
on the University’s web site at www.stjohns.edu/news.