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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.]

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    • Lovin’ your ruffled ulrbemla Cindy! Thanks for hosting show and tell friday, glad I could join in this week, even though you are one busy lady…I appreciate you hosting 🙂 Love the photos of your Biking adventure in the post below…you have lost so much weight girl and you look great…keep having fun girly :)Big hugs,Q~

  1. I am truly at a loss for how stupidity is getting worse when it has been ascertained that by design umbrellas cannot propel bullets. That must be one sleepy jurisdiction if they can drum up that kind of response over nothing.

  2. I keep waiting for the day a swat descends on a old man walking with a cane. This paranoia is getting out of hand. What if it had been a rifle open carried near the campus. As long as he stayed out of the Gun free zone he is well within his rights.

  3. the officer should be commended for his actions because of his poor eyesight and lack of detective skills he probably cost the tax payers a pretty penny today …lets see dispatch officers……check….swat team ….check….ems….check…fire dept…check….yup barney did good today….

  4. thank god the kid wasn’t wearing a weighted jogging vest with the unbrella or the fbi and atf would have been called also…

  5. Time to ban these – do people really need umbrellas?

    Bloomberg and others of his godlike-mayoral ilk can afford to have their highly trained security personnel protect them from the elements, but the rest of us can suffer a little water, no?

  6. Eventually, officers located the man recorded by the video camera and discovered that what was thought to be a rifle was actually just a long black golf umbrella.

    “Without getting up close, it looked like the real deal,” [Sgt ]Williams said.

    Really, really!! – maybe this guy needs a different job like an MLB Umpire

    • Now that is patently unfair to MLB umpires. They get it right far more often than they get it wrong. In fact, I would bet that a MLB ump would have made the right call in the NC Umbrella Not-Shooting case too.

      I would go out on a limb and say that a 12yr old that plays lots of COD or BF3 could have told you that the thing sticking out of the backpack was not a rifle….or most anyone else with enough eyesight to tie their shoes.
      (Ok, so I havent seen the footage, maybe it did look like a gun…hard telling)

  7. People see what they want to see. To paranoid goons, any long black object is a gun. Because campus shootings happen so incredibly often (that’s what CNN told me, so it must be true), obviously any long black object should be assumed to be a threat.

    Once again, wouldn’t even be an issue if students and teachers were allowed to carry rather than be packed into classrooms like fish in a barrel.


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