Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

Caller Threatens ICC Mass Murder

The Metropolitan Police Department boosted patrols on campus and university administrators sent a campus-wide warning e-mail last week after a city office received a call from an unidentified caller threatening mass murder on campus.

The call came at 8:28 a.m. on May 7, in the middle of finals, and was directed to the city’s Office of Unified Communications, also know as the D.C. 911 Call Center. MPD Second District Officer Quintin Peterson said that the call came from a payphone in northwest D.C. and that the caller sounded male.

“He stated that he was going to commit a mass murder at the ICC building at Georgetown University,” Peterson said. “He said to take him seriously.”

After receiving the call, MPD contacted the university’s Department of Public Safety and the city’s Emergency anagement Agency and informed them of the threat, Peterson said. PD deployed the explosive ordinance disposal section and a canine unit and searched the ICC and the adjacent areas with DPS for traces of explosives and signs of suspicious activity later that day.

Peterson said officers found nothing of relevance and MPD believes the threat to be a hoax, although the call is still under investigation.

MPD kept between 2-6 officers on campus until 11 p.m. Tuesday night as a precautionary measure, Peterson said. DPS also increased patrols on and near campus, according to university spokesperson Julie Bataille, and will maintain the additional patrols until the end of commencement weekend.

Peterson said that the threat of mass murder was unusual. “We have never received such a call,” he said. “We get bomb threats all the time to every place in the city, though we don’t get threats off mass murder.”

Peterson declined to comment on whether MPD believed the threat to have been inspired by the shootings last month at Virginia Tech because the call is still under investigation. The threat took place over three weeks after 32 people were murdered at Virginia Tech.

In a campus-wide e-mail sent out May 8, DPS Director Darryl Harrison alerted students to a “potential threat to campus that could be disruptive of final exams” but gave no details regarding the specific nature of the threat. The e-mail also outlined the precautionary measures taken by MPD and DPS.

Harrison declined to comment on the vague nature of the e-mail.

Arti Kotadia (MSB ’09) said that DPS should have informed students about the potential threat so that students might have taken precautions.

“I feel like whenever DPS says there’s a campus security threat, we don’t take it seriously,” Kotadia said. “I would have asked them to move my finals elsewhere because two of my three finals were in ICC, and I would have stayed away from the building.”

Michael Casimir (COL ’08) said that, despite the threat, he still felt safe on campus.

“It is as likely to happen here as any other place,” Casimir said. “I usually feel pretty safe on the campus and I think that when there are threats . the university is well-prepared.”

Bataille said she is satisfied with how the university handled the situation.

“This is an example of how the university must carefully and thoughtfully respond to potential incidents, balancing the information available and ongoing events in our academic schedule to support the safety and well-being of our community,” she said.

Donate to The Hoya

Your donation will support the student journalists of Georgetown University. Your contribution will allow us to purchase equipment and cover our annual website hosting costs.

More to Discover
Donate to The Hoya