Classes Canceled at Virginia College after Security Alert

FERRUM, Va. – Ferrum College was put on lockdown Feb. 26 after a member of the housekeeping staff saw a suspicious man carrying a gun walking into a building on the campus around 7:30 a.m. He told the staff member not to say anything.

College President Jennifer Braaten immediately triggered the alert system and ordered a lockdown of the school. Classes were canceled for the day. The adjoining Ferrum Elementary School was also locked down as a precaution.

The alert system drew in officers from 18 federal, state and local agencies, including the U.S. Secret Service, the FBI and the U.S. Marshals Service to the campus. Regional hospitals were also placed on standby as a precaution.Franklin County Sheriff Ewell Hunt said police questioned two individuals as persons of interest. Authorities searched for the suspect in dormitories and other campus buildings; however, no suspect was found.

Authorities said there was no reason to doubt the housekeeper’s statement because she has no history of mental illness and there was no reason for her to lie.

School officials said no shots were fired and there have been no injuries.

The university, which has 1,200 students, is 45 miles from the Virginia Tech campus, where in April 2007 a student gunman killed 32 people before turning his weapon on himself.

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