Monday, August 24, 2015

University of Iowa Building Evacuated After "Erratic" Person Left "Suspicious Package" at Jessup Hall // Update: Student Detained & Later Taken to the Hospital for Evaluation

A Hawk Alert was issued to the University of Iowa/Iowa City community about a half-hour ago after a "suspicious package" was discovered near Jessup Hall. The building was evacuated and people were being advised to stay clear.

Jessup Hall houses the following University of Iowa departments:
* Chief Diversity Office 
* Finance and Operations 
* General Counsel Geographical and Sustainability Sciences 
*Governmental Relations, Office of 
* Iowa One Card (University ID) 
* Office of Equal Opportunity and Diversity 
* Office of the President 
* Office of the Provost
* Office of the Registrar University Business 
* Office Urban and Regional Planning
The evacuation could continue for the next hour, according to KWWL's twitter feed. This affects "hundreds of students."

The Johnson County bomb squad has arrived at the building to do their work.

Lastly, an unspecified UI official said that "someone walked into Jessup Hall acting erratically and left a backpack in the building."

Today is the first day of classes during the Fall 2015 term for students at the University of Iowa.

Updated later on 08/24/15:  News reports are that a man has been taken into custody for questioning following this Hawk Alert/suspicious package situation:
University of Iowa Police now say a backpack in the president's office was left by a student who was taken into custody for "erratic behavior," and a lock down of that building was "an act of caution." 

University officials say police responded to a call in response to a male student "behaving erratically" in Phillips Hall at around 10:54 a.m. Monday. 

Shortly after that, police got a second phone call from a staff member in Jessup Hall about that student in the president's office. 

Police took the student into custody, but his backpack was left behind, according to university officials. He was taken to the hospital for evaluation. 

At that point, police called the Johnson County Bomb Squad to determine the contents of the backpack. The bomb squad did not find any dangerous materials.
To recap: A student was at Jessup Hall and was displaying "erratic behavior." The police were called (twice) by University staff. He was "taken into custody" by the police, but was actually taken to the hospital for an evaluation. They didn't take his backpack with him, instead assuming that it might contain a bomb. The building was evacuated and the bomb squad and K-9 patrol were brought in. Everything was fine.

In other words, the same type of things that I deal with several times weekly at my own workplace -- minus the call to the police or bomb squad.

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