Area police were called to USF today when a white male was seen carrying a black handgun while walking near Greek Village.
University Police spokeswoman Lt. Meg Ross said the male, probably between 18 and 21-years-old, was wearing blue jeans and a white t-shirt with the words “Go Greek” printed on it.
Ross said the male was seen walking along 50th Street near Fletcher Avenue, 50th and Holly Drive and was also spotted walking north on Fowler Avenue. Ross said UP and Hillsborough County agencies received three separate phone calls from people who spotted the suspect.
A MoBull alert was sent around 4 p.m. that stated, “Police responding to report of man with gun on NE side of campus near greek village. Avoid area.”
UP and the Tactical Response Team arrived at the Student Marshall Center to assist in safety measures for parents and prospective students who were attending an orientation session in the center. Prospective students and their parents were visiting booths where USF students advertised campus clubs and organizations.
Officers escorted two separate groups of students, orientation leaders and parents into the Oval Theatre and the balcony.
Sgt. Charlotte Domingo spoke to the group about the situation. She said that UP received a 911 phone call that a gunman was seen on campus.
“We asked that the family members of students stay together,” she said. “You will worry about each other less if you are together. If you see something suspicious, you’ll know that there are UP officers in the area. We would ask that you call one of us or dial 911. You guys are getting an unique experience today that we don’t usually have at orientation.”
Domingo used the incident as an example of how the University operates in emergency situations.
“You get a call, you go with the information you have — and you make the best decisions available,” Domingo said.
Ross said the Tactical Response Team, which are trained to be first responders in emergencies, were participating in a training session when the male was first seen. Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office sent helicopters to the scene to assist in the search for the suspect.
A second MoBull alert was sent around 5:30 p.m. that stated, “After reports of man with gun, police conducted thorough search of area. All activities continued as normal.”
Ross said authorities were unable to find the suspect, but UP and Hillsborough County officers will continue a “heightened patrol” on campus tonight. She said a detailed report will be available Friday.
— Additional reporting done by Courtney Alberigo