'False alarm' active shooter sends Central Washington University into panic

'False alarm' active shooter sends Central Washington University into panic (PHOTO: Brendan Dolleman)

ELLENSBURG — Law enforcement agencies swarmed the Central Washington University campus after reports of an active shooter Wednesday night.

Police said it turned out to be a false alarm.

CWU Police said dispatch received three calls about an active shooter in three different campus buildings Wednesday night, but detectives are still investigating who made those calls and why.

There was panic while students and staff barricaded themselves in rooms on campus waiting for updates.

Students were seen on video evacuating the Student Union and Recreation Center during the shooting scare.

"It was quite scary to see that in person,” said student Ryan Fey who was among the evacuated students. "It’s nerving, freaky. It's just like spooked, like freaked to go to school tomorrow."

"We were locked in there, lights were dimmed and some of the students that were working out, we took weights and barricaded the doors,” said student Brendan Dolleman who was among the evacuated students.

For several terrifying hours students hid and ducked for cover.

They called their parents not knowing what was going to happen.

"She started crying and bawling saying how much she loved me and how much I meant to her and that got the waterworks going and I got a little emotional. It was sad,” said Fey.

Campus police, the FBI and other agencies all responded.

Police said detectives swept the three buildings and after the search, investigators said shots had not been fired and they didn't find a shooter.

Investigators said campus police and the Ellensburg Police Department will have extra patrols on and around the campus through Wednesday night and Thursday.

"The response was crazy,” said Dolleman. “I've never seen that in Ellensburg. At one time cops came in with guns drawn. I mean you see that at the movies but we experienced it in real life. It was crazy but I'm happy everyone is safe."

The CWU President said the university is providing immediate counseling in the Student Union and Recreation Center for any student.

“I am greatly relieved the report was not true and I would like to thank our campus police department for their efforts to search and secure all the affected campus buildings and to ensure the safety of our students, staff, and faculty,” said CWU President James L. Gaudino.

“I also would like to thank all those on campus who followed police instructions to stay in place and to those off-campus to stay away,” he added, noting the campus responded swiftly and in an appropriate way to the reports.

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