UPDATE, May 1: 12:15 p.m.: CCRI President Meghan Hughes spoke to media about the day’s events at about 11:30 a.m., precipitated by the discovery of a shell casing near the sixth-floor elevators of the Knight Campus’s main building, with no weapon or other shell casings discovered following a building search.
When administrators were notified of the find, Hughe’s said, “The decision was immediately made to evacuate the building.” The college instructed everyone to immediately evacuate and suspended classes. Campus police notified Warwick Police, who cooperated to conduct a search of the building.
In light of the tragedy yesterday at UNC Charlotte, we made the decision to evacuate our campus,” Hughes said. She thanked CCRI campus police, and the Warwick, Providence and State Police agencies for their assistance in the evacuation and search of the building.
“The scene is now deemed safe,” said CCRI Police Capt. Sean Collins, who noted the search included the use of firearms-sensing K-9 units throughout the main building and adjacent field house, with nothing further turned up. Collins said that on a Wednesday, he estimated about 4,000 students were likely on campus at the time of the evacuation.
WPD Chief Col. Rick Rathbun said the police response to the discovery of the shell is an example of good inter-agency cooperation, the result of an ongoing effort begun in August including cooperative training and planning to coordinate emergency responses.
“As a result of that preparation, we were able to respond effectively today. We were on scene within minutes, we knew our roles,” Rathbun said. Due to their preparation, the search and response this morning went exactly as they had expected it to.
“I look forward to continuing this level of cooperation with the Community College of Rhode Island, public safety side of the house, for future responses if, unfortunately, they’re needed,” Rathbun said.
UPDATE, May 1, 11:45 a.m.:
Classes are scheduled to resume this afternoon at the CCRI Warwick campus, said spokeswoman Amy Kempe.
UPDATE, May 1, 11:25 a.m.:
Officials have cleared the CCRI campus following an investigation by Warwick and campus police officers, and K-9 units from the Rhode Island State Police and Providence Police Departments. About 7,000 people were evacuated after the discovery of a shell casing in a campus building, according to CCRI spokeswoman Amy Kempe.
UPDATE, May 1, 11:05 a.m.:
The Warwick Police Department confirmed in a Facebook post that the CCRI campus was evacuated because of “a shell casing being found in a common hallway in the school.”
Original post, May 1, 10:22 a.m.:
WARWICK — The Community College of Rhode Island asked students and staff to evacuate the campus this morning at 9:16 a.m., asking the public to remain calm but offering no details about the reason.
“Please evacuate the Warwick Campus immediately. Remain calm. Wait for further instructions,” CCRI stated on their Twitter feed this morning.
Only the Warwick Knight Campus is being evacuated. Classes have been canceled for the day and the college has asked students not to linger in the parking lot.
CCRI later informed Twitter followers that the evacuation was not caused by an active shooter.
Calls for further information to both the CCRI Knight Campus Police and the Warwick Police were not immediately returned.
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