If the alleged gunman who was spotted on the Manchester Community College campus yesterday was found to be in possession of a firearm, he would have been in violation of the school's policy against bringing weapons to campus, according to Manchester Community College President Gena Glickman.
"Weapons are not allowed on campus," Glickman told Patch Thursday. "…We have a policy of no firearms and no weapons, including knifes."
Glickman told Patch that MCC's policy against weapons is currently detailed in the student handbook, but that there are no signs posted anywhere around the campus denoting the policy. Glickman said that after Wednesday's incident discussions are taking place about how to better inform staff and students of the school's no weapons policy.
Manchester Community College, the state's largest community college, serves about 7,500 students a semester, and is also home to Great Path Academy, a regional charter high school that educates about 280 students from grade 9 through 12. After talking with campus safety personnel, Glickman estimated that there were about 4,000 students and staff on campus at approximately 1:45 p.m. Wednesday when a female student called 911 to report spotting a gun sticking out of the waistband of a male student described as "a heavy-set Hispanic male, about 5’8 – 5’10, wearing a red short sleeved shirt."
State and local police were dispatched to the campus, and students and staff were instructed to "shelter in place," which lasted for several hours as police went room to room searching the various buildings on campus. No one matching the description was located and no gun was found. During the search, a Manchester Police officer was shot in the foot during an accidental discharge of a weapon.
In a statement posted to MCC's website, State Police Lt. J. Paul Vance said that state police are continuing the investigation into the reported gunman and the officer's shooting.
Thursday afternoon, Vance said that unless it is prohibited by the college, it is acceptable for someone with a permit to carry a weapon on campus. However, he added that at most schools carrying a gun, even if with a valid permit, is prohibited.
Glickman said she was pleased that no one was seriously injured during the incident and about how quickly staff and students responded to the shelter-in-place advisory.
"I think they did a phenomenal job," Glickman said. "There were people who were sheltering in place even before the announcement went out, because they saw police vehicles."
Glickman said that the campus practices such emergency drills at least once a semester, and last held a a shelter-in-place drill on Feb. 20, 2013.
Vance said he encourages facilities to hold drills such as the one held at MCC in February so that students and staff know how to best react in a true emergency. State police and other emergency services organizations drill all the time to prepare for calls such as the one made Wednesday afternoon by the MCC student.
Glickman said there will be a campus wide briefing and forum on the lockdown on Monday, March 11 2013 at 3:30 p.m. in the SBM Charitable Foundation Auditorium.
Regional Editor Megan Bard contributed to this report.