Man At Center Of MSU Lockdown Taken For Mental Health Evaluation

Jul 12, 2019

No arrest has been made and no charges filed against the Montana State University employee who was the focus of a campus “shelter-in-place” order Thursday in Bozeman.

The name of the man at the center of the campus lockdown and search Thursday has not been released.

MSU police Chief Frank Parrish said the man was questioned Thursday and was cooperative. He consented to searches of his home and his vehicle. Officers found two weapons in the home: a loaded shotgun and a hunting rifle. He has been taken to Hope House in Bozeman for mental health evaluation.

Mike Becker MSU News Service Director said the situation began shortly after noon when campus police received word of a possible threat.

“A member of the person’s family to whom he had expressed some concerning thoughts had called one of the offices here at the university who then relayed that information to university police,” Becker said.

The search began around 12:15 p.m. It was some 45 minutes later, when it became apparent the search would take time, that the “shelter-in-place” order was made.

“And we were having trouble finding him, we wanted to be sure everyone to stay safe as we knew we had someone who was potentially upset on campus and who had expressed thoughts of self-harm and potentially violence,” says Becker.

That prompted the lockdown that lasted about an hour and a half and ended when the person was taken into custody.

Romane Rousselet and Cody Seaton were on campus meeting for lunch when the alert went out.

Seaton said they took refuge in an office in Hamilton Hall, turned out the lights, hid under the desk and stayed quite.

“Once we starting hearing how many cops and police officers were responding then we knew it was a little bit serious because we heard state police and sheriff, everyone came. Then it got a little bit freaky,” Seaton said.

Rousselet is French. She says her country has had a lot of terrorists threats.

“Nowadays, who knows? It’s happened in many different places in the world. And why not here? It’s definitely more remote, so I wouldn’t think they would come all the way to Montana, you know, especially Bozeman, and it’s not that big of a university so I feel especially safe here. But who knows? I mean, we never know what could happen.”

The lockdown and search brought together campus police, Bozeman Police Department and Gallatin County Sheriff’s Department as well as Montana Highway Patrol. Becker says it’s a situation they all train for.

“And in that training they invited those other agencies in to work with us so that they get to know each other, so they are familiar with each other,” he said. “So that when they get into a situation that is a real life situation, they have that familiarity.”

Becker said the university is grateful for the turnout and help Thursday.