March 7, 2018 at 5:05 PM
Police arrested a Utica College student and charged him with making threats of violence to the school in phone calls placed Monday and Tuesday.
On Monday, the school, about 55 miles east of Syracuse, N.Y., was locked down for hours after threats were called in. People huddled under desks until the campus was evacuated, as law-enforcement agencies searched buildings and cleared areas.
Fahrudin Omerovic, 23, used an app to disguise the identity of his phone. “Through technology and a legal process, we were able to narrow him down to being our suspect,” said Lt. Bryan Coromato, a spokesman for the Utica Police Department.
He was charged with four felony counts of making a terroristic threat, Coromato said.
No one was injured in the incident. But the threats paralyzed the private college in Upstate New York, with false rumors circulating and students sharing photos of themselves hiding in classrooms.
The campus newspaper the Tangerine quoted sophomore Daniela Hannah of Dalton, Ga., where a school was evacuated last week after a teacher fired a gun in a classroom and made threats.
“It is scary and weird that this would happen here and in my hometown,” Hannah told the Tangerine. “I’m just glad that my friends are safe and the class I was in remained safe, too.”
On Tuesday evening, the president of the college, Laura Casamento, was able to reassure the campus community. “I am pleased — and relieved — to announce that an arrest has been made in the threat against Utica College,” Casamento wrote in a statement. “I want to thank law enforcement for their dedication and hard work to ensure the safety of the Utica College community and to solve this case as quickly as they did. I also want to thank the Utica College community for all that you have done to cooperate with law enforcement and to support each other.”