JONESBORO, Ark. (AP) – An armed man who had posted on Facebook that he was homicidal drove onto Arkansas State University on Thursday, sparking a campus lockdown before police took him into custody without any shots fired, university and police officials said.
University spokesman Bill Smith said the man was taken into custody about an hour after the incident began. The university lifted a lockdown for all parts of campus except for the east side of the student union.
Jonesboro Police spokesman Paul Holmes identified the man as Brad Kenneth Bartelt, 47, of Jonesboro. A day earlier, officers went to Bartelt’s home after receiving a call about a Facebook post where he said he was “suicidal and now homicidal.” In the post, Bartelt referred to an incident with the Social Security administration. Officers said Bartelt was already seeking medical attention, according a police report.
Holmes said bomb squad technicians were going to examine the truck the suspect had driven into the middle of campus.
The school sent an alert early Thursday afternoon urging the evacuation of the student union following a report of an active shooter. A later tweet said there were no shots fired or any reports of injuries.
Holmes said a negotiator was sent to the scene to speak with the man. It wasn’t clear what, if any, discussions took place.
John Miller, a junior at Arkansas State, told the Arkansas Democrat Gazette in a phone interview that he was taking a test in the humanities building when he saw through a window a green pickup drive onto the lawn in front of the union.
About five minute later, after finishing his test, Miller said “people came running and screaming freaking out.”
At that point, Miller ran with several women to the library as police and SWAT team officers began descending on the campus, he said.
The university is l in Jonesboro, about 130 miles northeast of Little Rock. Its enrollment is more than 13,000, but not all students were on campus Thursday because it was the second day of final exams. Arkansas State said tests that were scheduled for Thursday night will be administered next week.
Jonesboro is also home to Westside Middle School, where an 11-year-old and 13-year-old fatally shot four students and a teacher in 1998.