--UPDATED 11/16/12, 1:54 p.m.--
Minneapolis Police gave an "all clear" Friday afternoon after spending more than two hours searching an office building near the St. Thomas campus following reports of possible gunfire.
"There is no evidence of a shot of any kind," Minneapolis Police Chief Janee Harteau told reporters outside the Retek on the Mall building, 10th Street and La Salle Avenue, where several individuals reported hearing gunshots on the 10th floor around 11 a.m.
St. Thomas sent an all-clear alert to students, faculty and staff at 1:25 p.m., allowing activities at the Minneapolis campus to return to normal. The first alert, sent at 11:37 a.m., advised individuals on campus to "seek shelter and remain in place," and a second alert at 12:12 p.m. stated they should "remain in place until all clear."
Retek on the Mall is across La Salle from Opus Hall, and the skyway between the two buildings was shut down during the alert. Police searched the 11-floor building floor by floor and did not allow any occupants to leave until the all-clear was issued. Police speculated the gunfire-like noise could have been related to noise in the ductwork or ventilation system of the building.
St. Thomas suspended shuttle service between the Minneapolis and St. Paul campuses, and it was restored after 1:30 p.m.
To issue alerts, the St. Thomas Public Safety Office deployed USTALERT, powered by RAVE, a new emergency notification system that replaced CityWatch on Oct. 1. The system sends simultaneous text and email messages as well as social media updates to faculty, staff and students. Read more about USTALERT here.
--FIRST STORY PUBLISHED 11/16/12, 1:06 p.m.--
Report of possible gunfire near Minneapolis campus prompts "remain in place" alerts
Reports of possible gunfire in a downtown Minneapolis office building near the St. Thomas campus late this morning prompted the university to issue an alert advising those on campus to "seek shelter and remain in place.
A Minneapolis Police Department spokesman told reporters at the scene that someone on the 10th floor of the Retek on the Mall building, 10th Street and La Salle Avenue, heard what sounded like gunshots around 11 a.m. Building security personnel were notified, 911 was called and police officers arrived at the scene. They are still searching the building at this time, and authorities instructed all people in buildings near the scene, including the Minneapolis campus, to remain in place until an "all clear" is issued.
St. Thomas sent its first alert to students, staff and faculty at 11:37 a.m., minutes after being notified by authorities. A second alert at 12:12 p.m. instructed those on the Minneapolis campus to "remain in place until all clear." Members of the University Action and Response Team (UART) are meeting to monitor the situation.
St. Thomas has suspended shuttle service between the Minneapolis and St. Paul campuses until the incident is resolved.