University Police issue alert about armed subject on campus

The alert was lifted a half hour later.

University Police issued a CSULB BeachALERT! about an armed subject on campus near the Engineering Technology building at 3:30 p.m. today, ordering students and faculty to evacuate the area or find shelter if they could not evacuate.

A half hour later, police lifted the alert and said the subject in question was carrying contractor’s equipment or a cell phone, not a gun.

In the alert, University Police told students and faculty seeking shelter to lock and blockade doors, close blinds and silence cell phones, if necessary. They also asked everyone to remain calm.

The alert came only hours after University Police held an active shooter and mass casualty drill in coordination with the Long Beach Police and Fire Departments, St. Mary Medical Center and Lifeline EMS. The drill was designed to test the Student Health Center’s ability to perform triage in the field, according to a Cal State Long Beach press release.

According to CSULB Spokesman Rick Gloady, the alert was not part of the drill.

University Police lifted the alert around 4 p.m. and said no threat was on campus. Officers identified the subject in question and found that they were carrying contractor’s equipment instead of a gun, as had been reported to police, according to University Police.

Gloady also said the subject was identified as a contractor whose cell phone may have been mistaken for a gun.

Staff members on campus said they were confused by the alert because the university had completed its active shooter drill on upper campus only a few hours beforehand.

“We had just come down [from break] thinking it was the drill,” said Carolyn LaPalio, office manager for the Department of Journalism and Mass Communication. But after getting the emails and calls warning about the perceived danger, they decided to hunker down. “We locked our door,” she said.

Mark Wiley, associate dean of the College of Liberal Arts, called staff members at 4 p.m. to say the danger had passed and that they could leave campus.

Barbara Kingsley-Wilson contributed to this report.