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Potential threat of violence in Ohio State ‘cafeteria’ moves ‘past the window of concern’

Pat Brennan / Senior Lantern repoter

An investigation by the Ohio State University Police Division into a potential shooting threat on campus is pending. Police believe the initial threat to be over with, but have not yet identified the perpetrator of the crime.

“Ohio State University Police have been investigating postings to fantasy, role-player game sites which referenced a potential public safety threat of a shooting at OSU,” said OSU Police Chief Paul Denton. “We continue to investigate and are taking this seriously.”

University Police released a public safety notice via email and text message to faculty, staff and students between 11:30 a.m. and 12 p.m. Wednesday, warning the university community of the threat, which Denton said was “specific to a cafeteria at the Ohio State University and today.”

“We felt it important to notify the university community to heighten awareness and to stress the importance of ‘if you see something, say something,’ and report suspicious activities or individuals to the appropriate authorities,” Denton said.

The public safety notice stated that anyone with information concerning the threat should contact University Police or Columbus Police.

“I want to encourage anyone who knows anything about this situation to notify University Police immediately for further information,” said Jay Kasey, OSU senior vice president for Administration and Planning.

Denton said police will continue to monitor the situation until they are certain the threat is over.

“We have expert police and security presence on or around campus dining facilities,” Denton said. “Although we have moved past the window of concern, we will continue to have additional resources and presence for as long as necessary. The safety of our campus is our top priority.”

Kasey said the person responsible for the threat has not yet been determined.

“The matter will not be considered complete or closed until we’ve identified the individual or individuals who are responsible for this incident,” Kasey said.

Denton said police will continue to have a presence at campus dining facilities throughout the evening.

When asked whether the security presence will continue into tomorrow, OSU Director of Public Safety Vernon Baisden said they are handling the situation “one day at a time.”

University Police sent another notice at approximately 4 p.m. Wednesday to inform the university community that it has moved past the window of concern but will maintain “security presence and heightened awareness for as long as necessary.”

The increased police and security presence applies to areas on or around campus dining facilities, including at the Wexner Medical Center. Officers at OSU’s regional campuses were also informed of the threat and took necessary precautions, according to the afternoon notice.

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