Utica College on lockdown after threats

UTICA (AP) — Students locked themselves in classrooms and hid under desks at a college in upstate New York today after the school received a threatening message about someone armed with a weapon. Authorities said there were no reports of shots or injuries.

Utica College in central New York sent messages on social media late Monday morning asking students to shelter in place after the school “received threats from an individual who stated that he was armed with a weapon,” according to Utica police. Students were being evacuated and escorted to a safe location.

The Utica City School District also went into lockdown.

Entrances to the college campus were blocked off by police. Friends and family of students gathered on the sidewalks nearby to wait for news.

“My daughter’s been texting me … I’m in shock,” Joanne Hajec, of Whitesboro, told the Observer-Dispatch of Utica.

State police, the Oneida County Sheriff’s Office and Utica City Police were on the scene.

The small, private college, founded in 1946, enrolls more than 5,000 full- and part-time students on its 128-acre campus and online, according to its website. It has seven residence halls and 138 full-time faculty members.

John Brewer, of New York Mills, himself a former Utica College student, said he had received texts from his sister, who was on campus, but wasn’t sure if he should respond.

“At this point, I’m afraid to text. If they need to be quiet the vibration even could make a noise,” he said.