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A woman told police that her husband might be heading to campus and is angry at the governor.
Thursday, October 24, 2013
A man who was reportedly angry at the governor prompted a brief security lockdown at Virginia Western Community College on Thursday, police said.
Roanoke police spokesman Scott Leamon said officers were dispatched to the 1700 block of Clinton Avenue Southeast just before 10:50 a.m. for a domestic incident.
A woman there told officers that her husband might be suffering from mental health issues and that he might be headed to Virginia Western, armed with a firearm and angry at Gov. Bob McDonnell "for a yet to be determined reason."
Roanoke officers contacted Virginia Western police, and the college went into lockdown just before 11:25 a.m. The man eventually returned to the Clinton Avenue home and was taken into custody about 11:36 a.m., Leamon said. The lockdown was lifted shortly thereafter.
Leamon said the man was taken to an undisclosed facility for a mental and medical evaluation. As of Thursday night he had not been charged.
"At this point we know of no direct threats to any staff or students at Virginia Western Community College," Leamon said.
McDonnell and other state dignitaries were at Virginia Western on Wednesday for the dedication of a new college building. Leamon said it's unclear if the man knew that.
The man was not armed when he was found, Leamon said, but a gun was found during a search of his property. Leamon said there's no indication the man had the gun in his possession.
The lockdown prompted two nearby Roanoke schools to shelter in place. Schools spokesman Justin McLeod said Fishburn Elementary and James Madison Middle schools were placed on the status for about 20 minutes, meaning students and staff could move through the building but visitors were limited.
Virginia Western spokesman Josh Meyer said one phone in the newly opened Fralin Center - where McDonnell spoke Wednesday - did not activate "as planned" during the lockdown. During a lockdown, phones should turn on automatically and play a message. The phones can then receive periodic voice and text messages about what's going on.
He said a safety committee would evaluate that issue and reports that doors in various parts of campus didn't lock appropriately.
"We test these procedures once a month, but it is impossible to find out some shortcomings until it is tested in real time and real life," he said. "We always feel our response to scenarios like this can be improved, and we will continue to work to make our facilities as safe as possible."
Staff writer Annie McCallum contributed to this report.
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