Northwestern University urged students to hide after local police received a call reporting an active gunman in a residential building on March 14. It was later determined to be a false alarm.
The call was ultimately deemed a “swatting” hoax – when someone purposefully reports false information with the intention of inciting an unnecessary SWAT team response.
According to a statement released by the city of Evanston, Ill., an individual called the city police department at 2:17 p.m. saying he had shot his girlfriend in a graduate student residence hall. However, roughly two hours later, the police determined the call to be a trick.
Officers discovered that the call actually originated from a vacant apartment about 70 miles northwest of Evanston, reported the Associated Press.
The Daily Northwestern reported that some students described the campus lockdown as frightening yet familiar.
"[W]e all are horrified because we’ve seen so many other people on social media and on the news sobbing after their friends have been gunned down going to class,” Gabrielle Bienasz, a sophomore at Northwestern's Medill School of Journalism said to The Daily Northwestern. “It was the school shooter script, and whether or not it was real, we all knew that script exactly."
The incident coincided with National School Walkout Day, when high school and university students from across the country showed support for stricter gun regulations in response to the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting that left 17 dead last month.
The Parkland, Fla. high school shooting has sparked numerous protests at high schools and universities nationwide, including Penn.
On Feb. 22, Penn students gathered by the LOVE statue in a bipartisan protest of gun violence. Students held signs, each with the date, location, and number of deaths of one of the 371 mass shootings that have occurred in the United States since Jan. 1, 2017.
Following the Parkland shooting, Penn's local Cinemark movie theater, Cinemark 6 on 40th and Walnut streets, implemented a new policy that restricts bag sizes allowed in theaters, following the chain's nationwide policy change.