4:18 p.m. Update: Charges are pending against a UMBC student who brought an unloaded replica weapon on campus and became violent while in student housing, according to police officials.
Police are withholding the name of the suspect, who has been identified as a student from Maryland, pending the filing of charges that are expected tomorrow.
The incident began on the night of Wednesday May 30, when the suspect was seen with a handgun by a female student, police said. According to UMBC police deputy chief Paul Dillon, the female witness said she saw the suspect pull back the slide of an automatic-type pistol.
The female student became concerned later in the night, when the suspect was involved in a confrontation within student housing and threw a chair against a wall, Dillon said.
She called 911 at around 5:15 a.m. Thursday and provided police with information, then went "off the grid" for about 90 minutes when she turned her cell phone off, Dillon said.
The suspect's car was located within 15 minutes parked on Hilltop Circle near the West Hill Apartments.
"At first, we had no suspect and no victim, so we just sat on the car," Dillon said.
Once police were able to contact the female witness, officials located the suspect, who returned willingly to the UMBC police station where he was being questioned Thursday afternoon, Dillion said.
The weapon recovered by police was a starters' pistol that is unable to fire projectiles, Dillion said.
"It looks just like a 9mm," he said. "There were no rounds in it. Of course, nobody knew that until we looked at it."
The suspect likely faces a weapon charge, and may also be charged with destruction of property, according to Dillon. He will not be charged with assault, as he never pointed the weapon or threatened anyone with it, he said.
12:58 p.m. Update: A student brought a gun to the UMBC campus and showed it to another student who called 9-11 early Thursday, forcing a campus-wide alert, officials said. Police recovered a gun but were searching for a suspect.
police said they believe the suspect has left the campus. No injuries were reported and they said normal campus activities could resume.
At a press conference held shortly after 11 a.m. at the UMBC police station, Chief Mark Sparks said that Baltimore County police received a 9-11 call from campus at 5:15 a.m.
The caller was a female student who told the dispatcher that an acquaintance had shown her a gun in his car, police said. The incident occurred outside the West Hill Apartments near the intersection of Walker Avenue and Hilltop Circle on the west side of campus.
Campus police and Baltimore County police scoured the campus "room by room, building by building," Sparks said.
According to Sparks, the suspect left the car and the gun, which police later recovered. Police said the suspect was a student and they believe he is from Maryland.
"We are optimistic about finding him," he said.
The woman, who was being interviewed by police, described the gun as a handgun.
Police said they sent out a series of text message alerts to students and faculty early Thursday. The first, sent around 6 a.m., read: "Police still searching in area of Westhill Apartments for person with gun. Stay out of that area until further notice."
The second one read: "Police in area of Westhill Apts. and Walker Avenue for report of man with gun, stay inside and out of area."
A message was sent out after 11 a.m. alerting the campus community that the search for the suspect had been concluded and to resume normal activities.
Alerts were also sent out on Twitter.
Sparks said the university decided not to close campus because the threat was isolated to a specific area of campus. The university is currently holding summer classes and fewer students are on campus.
Some high schools hold graduations on the campus in the evening hours this time of the year, including and tonight.
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Original story and updates below
11:45 a.m. Update: UMBC police report they have located the vehicle and recovered the weapon, and that "strong evidence" suggests that the suspect is no longer in the area.
During a press briefing, UMBC police said that a female student called 911 Thursday morning to report that a male student showed her a gun in his car.
UMBC police issued an updated text alert informing recipients that the search for the suspect has been concluded and to resume normal activities.
10:50 a.m. Update: Several police cars are at the intersection of Walker Avenue and Hilltop Circle on the western edge of campus.
UMBC police officials have scheduled a briefing for 11 a.m. to discuss reports of a person with a gun on campus. The police are currently actively searching for this person, according to sources.
10:05 a.m.: University of Maryland, Baltimore County police Thursday morning scoured a campus residential area in search of a gunman, warning students to either remain away or stay indoors.
UMBC police issued three text alerts to students, faculty and staff.
At 6:09 a.m., police issued a text alert about a report of a man with a gun in the area of Westhill Apartments and Walker Avenue. The alert advised recipients to "stay inside and out of area."
At 8:23 a.m., an updated alert informed recipients that police were still searching for a person with a gun in the area of Westhill Apartments and advised to "stay out of that area until further notice."
At 9:21 a.m., the police issued an updated alert reporting that the search is focusing on residential areas. "If not on campus delay arrival until next update," the text said. "If on campus stay indoors and use caution."
The area being searched by UMBC police is within the loop on the western side of campus, near the county court building.
Alerts were also sent out on Twitter.