HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) – Officials at Central Connecticut State University on Tuesday defended the police and school response to reports of a masked man with a gun and sword a day earlier, when law enforcement swarmed the campus and buildings were locked down for three hours.
The man turned out to be a student dressed in an apparent Halloween costume and carrying a steel sword and a BB handgun, police and school officials said. No one was harmed, but many people were frightened, they said.
Classes resumed Tuesday at the school in New Britain, about eight miles southwest of Hartford, and counseling was offered. Campus police said the student, 21-year-old David Kyem, was arrested for a second time on Tuesday because he was found on campus after being warned not to return until meeting with school officials.
University President Jack Miller said in a statement Tuesday that the responses to Monday’s reports were appropriate.
“All potential threats must be taken very seriously, and the response must be a reaction to worst-case scenarios,” Miller said. “Behavior that causes widespread fear among our students and staff cannot and will not be tolerated.”
Kyem, a senior from Newington, set off the chain of events while walking on campus wearing a mask, a sword strapped to his back, camouflage pants, a black-hooded sweatshirt and a black vest with what appeared to be a handgun sticking out of a pocket, police said.
Local, state and federal authorities responded to several 911 calls about a masked and armed man. Authorities sent in SWAT teams and police dogs while a state police helicopter flew overhead.
Kyem, whose father is a geography professor at the university, was charged with breach of peace and posted bail Monday. He didn’t return a phone message Tuesday, and it wasn’t clear if he has a lawyer.
Peter Kyem said his son had attended a party at the University of Connecticut for three days without a change of clothes and returned to campus Monday still wearing his costume.
“He made a stupid mistake,” Peter Kyem said Tuesday. “I don’t blame the police for what they did. They did what they had to do.”
After Kyem’s arrest Tuesday, he was charged with criminal trespassing, and told to appear for court Nov. 14. Kyem was already facing a hearing on a breach of peace charge related to Monday’s commotion.
The university released photos and video Tuesday showing David Kyem outside and inside the James Hall dorm building, where he was arrested.
Two other people who were taken into custody by police weren’t charged because they played no role in the scare, school officials said.
University spokesman Mark McLaughlin said school officials will decide whether Kyem can return to the school after the police and school investigations are completed. He said it’s not clear when the reviews will be finished.
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