Hoax shooter alert briefly interrupts MMC activity during commencements and Hemispheric Security Conference

Via FIU Flickr

Elise Gregg | Editor-in-Chief

False reports of an active shooter in the College of Nursing led to some evacuations at Modesto Maidique Campus on Tuesday morning, interrupting some campus activity.

FIU wasn’t the only university to receive that report — according to reporting by WFLX, Florida Atlantic University and Indian River College got similar calls.

According to FIU Police Chief Alexander Casas, the report of an active shooter was a hoax call. He later confirmed via text that City College in Hollywood and FAU got hoax calls (known as swatting calls) at the same time as FIU.

“We will conduct an investigation into the source of the call,” said Casas to PantherNOW. “We will take appropriate law enforcement action as warranted.”

Around 9:15 FIU Communications sent out alerts via phone, text and email warning students and staff about a dangerous situation on campus.

Via FIU Alerts

“We received notifications of possible shots fired at the College of Nursing via the Miami Dade County,” an email stated.

Academic Health Centers Two and Three were evacuated as FIU Police worked to verify the reports and search through AHC3. According to Casas, FIUPD was aided by Miami Dade Police and Fire Rescue, along with Sweetwater Police.

During this time FIU alerts confirmed that the east side of campus was being investigated, while the west side activities remained normal.

“The disruption to campus, apart from the emotional toll on the FIU community…was pretty much isolated to the east side,” said Casas, who estimated that the entire incident was over in about 90 minutes. “Commencements continued.”

Via FIU Alerts

FIU gave the all-clear for the Biscayne Bay Campus at about 9:30, and roughly 15 minutes later sent out more alerts stating that the reports of a shooter were false.

“Officers have cleared [AHC3] and are now conducting a methodical search. There is no danger to anyone on campus.”

Via FIU Communications

“We were quickly able to determine there was no active shooter,” said Casas. “We conducted an office-to-office search…just to be 100% certain.”

The reports came just before the commencement ceremony began for the Colleges of Public Health and Social Work and Nursing and Health Sciences, along with the School of Hospitality and Tourism Management.

They also briefly interrupted the first day of the Hempisheric Security Conference hosted by the Jack D. Gordon Institute for Public Policy, with attendees attempting to leave as the initial alerts came in.

According to PantherNOW reporter Andres Davila, who is covering the conference, attendees were told the conference would continue as the investigation was not near their location.

“A lot of people wanted to leave, but we couldn’t because the entrances to GC…were closed. We had to walk all around it, which would be dangerous.”

After the all-clear, the conference continued though the reports briefly interrupted a panel.

According to Casas, the interruption of activities around the Academic Health Centers was balanced by a calm response from the FIU community.

“I’m very proud of the law enforcement response…I’m equally proud of the response from the FIU community. Individuals in the affected area evacuated in an orderly fashion and made a chaotic scene much more manageable.”

This story will be updated as more information becomes available.

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