MINNEAPOLIS - The University of Minnesota experienced a rare armed disturbance on the West Bank campus Monday afternoon.
A man tried to steal a student's laptop computer at gunpoint in a hallway of Anderson Hall.
The female student was studying when a black man, about 6 feet tall, wearing a puffy black hooded jacket, confronted her with a handgun. The young woman, instead, handed him an empty backpack.
"That made him angry," said Chief Gregory Hastness, of the University of Minnesota Police Department. "She screamed and that alerted people in the immediate area."
The suspect fled into the vast tunnel system under the West Bank Campus. The University authorities immediately put out a text message to students and staff, telling them about the incident and ordering them to stay in place.
"There was an advisor who was going around to different classes saying, 'Just stay put. Lock your doors,'" said sophomore Carma Hauge, Sophomore. "And so, that is what we did."
Junior Max Giles noticed the police and media helicopters circling over Anderson Hall.
"It is good to see this kind of response to this situation. I definitely do not feel at danger on this campus."
Several students praised the University's swift handling of the incident, including the text alert.
Hastness said he has had undercover crews working in the areas around the campus where he estimates there have been 17 robberies, not all armed, since Sept. 1.
"In one instance, a .45 (caliber gun) was discharged into the air, for effect, and we recovered the casing and within the week, my team stopped a suspicious car and came up with a .45," said Hastness. "So, we have been out there and working it hard."
Hastness said his officers have camera video of a man, they believe to be the suspect in the Anderson Hall incident. He hoped it will help lead to his capture.
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