Louisiana State University police investigate report of armed intruder

(Reuters) – Police searched the flagship Baton Rouge campus of Louisiana State University on Tuesday in response to an unconfirmed report of an “armed intruder” in a central campus building, but there were no injuries or shots fired, the school said on Twitter.

A mid-afternoon Twitter alert posted by the university advised anyone facing a threat to “Run, Hide or Fight,” but gave no further details other than to say that the intrusion was reported in Coates Hall and that police were on the scene.

The large, three-story building houses lecture halls, classrooms and faculty offices for several departments on the sprawling campus, which lies on the banks of the Mississippi River.

Fall semester classes are due to begin next Monday, and orientation sessions were scheduled on Tuesday for transfer students.

WAFB-TV in Baton Rouge reported the building, located near the landmark bell tower and the campus Student Union, was evacuated and law enforcement officers were searching the campus for a possible suspect, though none was immediately found.

The station said it spoke with a professor in a neighboring building who said faculty there had locked some students into a lab as a precaution.

WBRZ-TV reported the situation was brought under control within about 15 minutes of the Twitter alert.

However, the school posted a subsequent Twitter message saying, “That is NOT correct. The situation is ongoing,” and it advised students, staff and others to “continue to avoid the area or remain in a safe place.”

The university followed up again to state, “No shots have been fired, and there are no injuries,” adding that police were still investigating.

The security scare at LSU, a campus in the Louisiana state capital consisting of more than 250 buildings and an enrollment of some 30,000 students, followed a spate of deadly mass shootings during the past month in California, Texas and Ohio.

Police have reported thwarting planned shooting attacks in three other states in recent days, arresting suspects on the basis of tips from the public and social media posts.

Reporting by Steve Gorman in Los Angeles and Brendan O’Brien in Chicago; editing by Jonathan Oatis, Howard Goller and Lisa Shumaker

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