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Photo by: Isaac Babcock - UCF police stand watch during an alleged gun incident at the main campus library.
Winter Park / Maitland Observer Wednesday, Apr. 27, 2016 2 years ago

UCF police chief explains gun incident

'Accidental' gunfire
by: Isaac Babcock Managing Editor

The University of Central Florida's police chief lauded students for their vigilance in reporting what they considered suspicious activity, but may have instead been a muslim student praying inside the UCF Library.

"I am proud of students who had the courage to report what they considered at the time to be suspicious activity," University of Central Florida Police Chief Richard Beary said in a release in response to yesterday's alleged gun incident on UCF's campus.

The incident began as a phone call to UCF police, which rapidly spread through social media about a possible woman with a gun in the library.

"We were sitting in a stairwell, and this girl came in and she was wearing like a full like Muslim, hijab, and she was really like shaky and falling to her knees," the caller said. "Then my friend saw like a silver and black handheld object like 80 percent sure it was a gun. It was some sort of, like, a weapon. It was the stairwell going from the third to the fourth floor. We wouldn't say anything unless we were really sure. It was really scary. We were shaking, that's how scary it was. It wasn't a normal situation."

That caused police to send in a SWAT team to clear the building and bar students from entering for more than an hour while they conducted a search. Dozens of officers with assault rifles were readied outside the building.

The search would turn up no suspects, and police would soon reopen the library. But just as the all-clear was being given, a gunshot rang out near the library. That turned out to be an unintentional shot fired from an officer's gun.

"UCFPD's response was not perfect," Beary said in a release. "An officer's weapon accidentally discharged in his vehicle as he secured it to leave the area."

Beary stated that the department would continue to investigate the claims, but did not indicate whether the originator of the report would be investigated for possibly filing a false police report, in light of the lack of evidence found.

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