An unidentified man (not pictured) ‘armed’ with only an umbrella prompted a three-hour lockdown of the East Carolina University campus in Greenville, North Carolina this morning. And no, it wasn’t a rifle-shaped umbrella. It was just an umbrella . . .
A Greenville, NC police officer was watching a video surveillance monitor when thought he spotted
a wolf stalking the village sheep a man ‘carrying what appeared to be an assault rifle’ near the campus. Police and campus officials ‘locked down’ the entire campus and even searched passing mass-transit buses for the nonexistent gunman, according to the Greenville Reflector:
Scores of police with guns and rifles drawn responded following two 10 a.m. reports that the man was walking on Fifth Street downtown toward campus. A search produced no arrest, officials said, and no hostage situations took place.
Officers searched city and university buses, the Rivers Building and other campus facilities, the downtown area and a residential area near campus. Police confirmed at a news briefing at 1:30 p.m. that the man had a large umbrella in his backpack that witnesses mistook for a rifle.
Ballard expressed relief in the campuswide email: “East Carolina University will always err on the side of campus safety when these situations arise. Our response by faculty, staff, and students was timely and professional.”
The man was located near downtown by a reserve Pitt County Sheriff’s Office deputy, officials said. The deputy instantly recognized that it was the same man in surveillance photos captured earlier in the day, Sgt. Carlton Williams of the Greenville Police Department said.
So that’s what really happened: some unlucky guy had a bumbershoot in his backpack (which does, after all, contain the word ‘shoot’…) and a police officer saw it on his video surveillance monitor and mistook it for an ‘Assault Rifle.’
The police went into full Columbine mode, as would be appropriate if a man were actually stalking around a college campus with a rifle. But there was no man with a gun, and it took the police three hours to determine that nobody had been shot and not a single law had been broken.
The next time Barney Fife mistakes a cane for a sniper rifle, or mistakes a taxi cab for a Soviet Army BMP, maybe it would be a good idea if the police did just a little investigating before locking hundreds of potential victims in their classrooms for three hours? And which mail-order police academy did the officer responsible get his certificate from? Anyone who can’t tell an umbrella from an AR is presumptively unfit to wear a badge and carry a gun. Even if it’s a $17,000 Kevlar ballistic umbrella.
[For a glimpse of how the rabidly anti-gun Huffington Post covers a story like this, click here and hold your nose. I hate to give them the site traffic, but it’s hard to grasp just how inflammatory their coverage is without seeing it for yourself.]