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UPDATED: Mistaken reports of gunman cleared within minutes

Updated 3/26, 12:55 a.m.:

A student with a bloody nose left his Talbot East classroom around 8:30 p.m. on Monday night and saw a monopod that he mistook for a gun in a bathroom. He ran out of the bathroom, saying there was a gun in the bathroom, according to Campus Safety Chief John Ojeisekhoba.

The student had stumbled upon the filming of the last scene for the upcoming series finale of “Coach Tracy,” a Biola web show, according to senior cinema and media arts major Michael Sullivan.

Senior journalism major Caleb Taylor was pretending to puke in a bathroom stall as sophomore film major David Tracy hung over it filming, using his monopod — not, he pointed out, a tripod.

The student stopped what he was doing and looked at Tracy holding the monopod, and Tracy smiled down at him.

“Everyone just kind of stopped, we weren’t saying anything, we were just kind of smiling at him,” Tracy said. 

The sergeant on duty responded to Talbot East within 30 seconds of receiving the call, Ojeisekhoba said. Information was relayed to the Campus Safety dispatch office immediately and the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department was notified within a minute.

With the simple initial report of a gun in the bathroom, students wouldn’t have been notified, Ojeisekhoba said. However, more students called the dispatch office reporting various things — including a guy with a bloody nose and a gunman with an AK-47 in Talbot East.

Hearing conflicting reports of a man with a gun —  and some reports of only a gun — on  campus, Ojeisekhoba notified the dispatcher to send out the campus-wide notification about seven to eight minutes after the initial report.

The building was evacuated while the film students finished their last scene for the show.

“So, they evacuate Talbot. We had no idea because we’re still in the bathroom filming,” Tracy said.

They celebrated the last scene, clapping as they began to walk out of the bathroom.

“I walk out of the bathroom door, I’m standing there with my tripod, and there’s a cop holding me at gunpoint,” Tracy said.

After a few conversations, it was made clear that no gun was in the building. Tracy and Sullivan noted they were impressed by Campus Safety’s response time and ability to evacuate Talbot East.

The sergeant cleared the first floor and part of the second floor before LASD arrived. When the sheriff’s department arrived, they finished clearing the second floor and the third floor together, Ojeisekhoba said.

Within the hour, memes, Facebook posts and tweets reacted to the situation. University administration is dedicated to taking every precaution, said Brenda Velasco, assistant director of public relations and internal communications.

“As an administration, we take these things seriously to ensure the safety of our students,” Velasco said.

Sullivan, who said he’d had a weird night, followed up his interview with a text, saying that people making fun of the student who reported the situation were “screwed up, ‘cause he’s had a worse night than anyone.”

At the same time, he said, students shouldn’t take the ordeal too seriously.

“Since we’re not taking this too seriously, no one else really should. It’s just a peculiar situation,” he wrote.


After a student mistakenly reported seeing a gun on campus, Campus Safety announced that campus was clear. Minutes after a text and email were sent to students announcing reports of a gunman, a follow up text and email announced campus was clear.

“Building and campus are safe there is no gunman on campus … Campus can return to normal mode,” the text read.

Senior Julia Bates said she was disappointed with the campus’ response to the situation.

“This situation is serious and treated in that manner. Even a potential shooter or weapon on campus should not be taken lightly, nor should it be joked about,” she wrote in an email.

Megan Reyneveld, a sophomore who lives in Horton Hall, was told by her resident assistant to lock her door and stay away from the window.

“At first I wasn’t nervous because I didn’t know what was going on, but then … I was a little scared,” she said.

Though he was off campus when the alert went out, sophomore Peter Morgan came to campus once it was cleared.

“I woke up to the text and my roommates were there, and we started talking about it, and then we came to campus right after they [Campus Safety] told us it was okay,” he said.

Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department and Campus Safety worked together to investigate the reported situation in Talbot East. Campus Safety will report more in the morning.


Katie Nelson contributed reporting to this story.


For updates from Campus Safety in case of an emergency:


Your Turn.  Post a Comment

  1. anonymous

    The fact that it took 20 minutes for the alert to be sent out AFTER I first heard about it when I was near by is ridiculous. And the fact that I personally (along with more than half of the people I was with, included teachers) did not get a text or e-mail is even more scary. What if it was serious? Campus safety needs to stop spending their money on segways and spend it insuring EVERY student and staff member gets alerted properly. March 25, 2013

  2. student

    I too am extremely disappointed with the lack of respect and insensitivity in some of the student body. I request that we have a campus-wide talk on how to deal with things like this in a mature manner that still glorifies the Lord. March 25, 2013

  3. Biola

    I don't think the jokes are purposely disrespectful and insensitive. People dispel fear and nervousness differently; joking about a situation is a way for students to reassure themselves that it really wasn't serious. I'd rather have internet memes than a tense and fearful campus. March 25, 2013

  4. Disappointed

    Student, I whole heartedly agree with you. It is only by the grace of God that this was not real and we are safe. This is not a laughing matter, and while the news may not have traveled as quickly as would be desirable, I am thankful for campus safety and LASD handling it in a professional manner. This should serve as a wake up call to the lost and dying world we are called to love. March 25, 2013

  5. Student

    Yeah, campus safety needs to get word out faster. The library staff knew what they were doing before campus safety could communicate it. Also where do students go if they can't get into buildings during a lockout? Many people walking around campus that weren't in a building had no idea what was going on until the delayed message from campus safety was sent out. There should be some kind of emergency siren. March 25, 2013

  6. Also disappointed

    I also was disappointed by the lack of respect from the student body. The jokes about the matter are one thing - if that's what you want to do, that's fine. But it's unnecessary to spread the humour, in full knowledge of the fact that some people WILL find it offensive.

    What's the most shocking and seriously offensive to me is how people are reacting to people like Julia. There are people who were scared, worried, or empathetic toward those who were scared. Somehow, these people become targets for crude humour and all of a sudden they become foolish and immature. Making jokes purposely aimed at a single person is inappropriate.

    I hope that people in authority at Biola are made aware of the crude comments being made...something needs to be done if we are truly to be a university that is Christ-centred. March 25, 2013

  7. Alum

    I'm don't think it's accurate to say "It is only by the grace of God that this was not real and we are safe" as 'disappointed' states. There is nothing that was threatening about this situation at all. Yes, a student assumed there was and informed Campus Safety who responded appropriately to such a report, but the fact of the matter is there was *never* any real threat. We are not to live in fear and while a false alarm can be scary (I myself was a bit nervous while waiting for the facts) it's important for us to remember that there was no actual threat. There was no one on campus that wanted to do harm and there is absolutely nothing about the events of tonight which should make anyone think such a thing would be any more likely. This was, in reality, no different then a dorm being evacuated because some hairspray set off a fire alarm... and no one would say that it was "only by the grace of God that there was no fire and the dorm didn't burn down". I know this may seem like a picky little point, but I think it's important we don't run to fear and worry, especially when there is no need. It does nothing to make us any safer and only serves to give fear more power than it deserves. March 25, 2013

  8. Anthony Rosso

    I think what Javid did was really uncool. March 25, 2013

  9. Chris Chase

    ^ yeah seriously uncool. March 26, 2013

  10. Appointed

    I found the Javid video particularly funny. Get over yourselves. March 26, 2013

  11. Nathan

    Okay, to everyone saying this "isn't funny", let's be honest... if you saw this scene in a movie it would definitely be funny! In fact, I am pretty sure I've seen things like this in several movies (where an innocent party suddenly discovers that cops have mistakenly assumed they were up to no good)

    “So, they evacuate Talbot. We had no idea because we’re still in the bathroom filming,” Tracy said.

    They celebrated the last scene, clapping as they began to walk out of the bathroom.

    “I walk out of the bathroom door, I’m standing there with my tripod, and there’s a cop holding me at gunpoint,” Tracy said.

    But seriously, the part of this that really makes no sense at all is how anyone else could have reported seeing "someone with an AK-47" if the crew never left the bathroom? I mean, it's good to be alert, but it seems like maybe a few people were too quick to report something that they didn't actually witness. Every false alarm makes people less concerned when they have an alarm and that is where people really get hurt in an actual situation! I'll be honest, my first thought was "this is going to turn out to be nothing" because I've seen several false alarms at my time at Biola. (of course, I did respond as if it was real but I did think it would turn out to be okay in the end) I'm not sure what, if anything, can be done about that, but I'd be interested to know how many students didn't take the text seriously. March 26, 2013

  12. Nothing

    ^ I think Dorm Series did it better. March 26, 2013

  13. Kaitlyn

    To everyone who is upset that they did not get a text didn't get it because you need to sign up for the text alerts on my.biola. March 26, 2013

  14. Thrilling

    I was in the library when the event was announced.

    I hid away from windows as campus safety advised, yet was not fearful.

    In my head I thought of different scenarios of how I would react when facing a gunman/woman. The situation reminded me of oh so many actions movies I'd watched.

    It was exciting. I prayed to the Lord and then had a peace.

    A few minutes later the Library announced false alarm.

    The situation is quite comical and I am sincerely glad the alarm was false.

    What an exciting evening!

    Now back to studying for a test... March 26, 2013

  15. Anonymous Student

    People who are crying about insensitiveness need to wake up. People die without having known Christ that should be a greater outrage than a parody video. March 26, 2013

  16. Student

    I believe those who are disheartened or distraught by people's lighthearted jokes would benefit from living life a little and stop keeping their panties in a bunch. March 26, 2013

  17. Nathan W.

    #10's and #16's comments only prove the point of #2 and #6. March 26, 2013

  18. Thank You Campus Safety

    Thank you Campus Safety for being so awesome and dealing with the situation greatly. They responded to the call within 30 seconds and had the building cleared within minutes??thats incredible and shows how much they value the students and the faculty and their safety. Campus Safety gets so much trash talked about them but when it comes to these situations, they are on it. I respect them so much and thank God for them. We don't appreciate these people until our safety is at risk, but God we have them. March 26, 2013

  19. Thank You Campus Safety

    I as a student feel so safe on campus and am thankful for all of their hard work March 26, 2013

  20. Surprised

    Frankly, I'm surprised by some of these comments. Lets stick with the facts here.
    Campus Safety was getting calls left and right that there was someone with a gun in Talbot East. People were running out of the building. There was one officer who responded immediately, went in by himself, and looks like he cleared the building BY HIMSELF before the Sheriffs Dept even got there. People were running out as he was running in. This showed a tremendous amount of courage of his part!
    Im sure that all Campus Safety knew of the situation were the calls they were receiving. Most of them false assumptions, but that have to take serious every call for the safety of the students. And to the alumni that says no to "Praise God is wasnt real"....are you serious? I completely agree! Praise God is was a false alarm! This could have been real and people (including the brave campus safety officer) could have gotten hurt. Mr Alumi, this doesn't mean that students will walk around, allowing fear to give itself more credit than due, it just alerts students even more that things like this really do happen and it's a good wake up call to always be prepared. Im thankful for the brave officer that put his life at risk (thinking there was a gunman in the building) and putting the safety of the Biola community first and foremost.
    Everyone critizising, needs to calm down.
    Oh, and the video wasn't offending, just immature and a bad decision was made to post it, thinking it was the least bit entertaining.
    This university should remain Christ centered and praise those who deserve praise. First, God for always having a shield of protection over Biola. Second, that brave officer. I'm thankful to be at Biola. March 26, 2013

  21. Alum

    Nathan W. (whoever you are ), live a little. There are plenty of people who do things that glorify God far more salvation-based than creating a "campus wide talk about this siuation." It's petty to put so much emphasis on other peoples' actions and judging others for their humor.

    Who are you to judge? Would the campus wide talk really help us in our salvation? And, if you want to call it "accountability", I would really think about that. I understand we are supposed to live on a higher calling, but at the same time, God doesn't call us to be sticklers and not find humor in things. March 26, 2013

  22. Nathan W.

    Alum, I'm confused. When did I say anything about campus-wide talks? Yes, #2 made a comment about that, but that wasn't me. #2 was "extremely disappointed with the lack of respect and insensitivity in some of the student body," and #10 and #16 proved that insensitivity and lack of respect.

    I don't judge them. It's entirely possible I know #10 and #16, and that they're good Christians who know they're saved by grace and who generally bring good works out of that saving faith. But our culture, even in Christianity, puts far too much emphasis on humor at the expense of loving those around us. Maybe the humor here is fine, but it seems to me to be in conflict with loving others, and I will ALWAYS err on the side of love, even if it means not laughing when maybe I could. Humor isn't the greatest good out there. March 26, 2013

  23. Nathan W.

    Kevin: I apologize if I'm doing that. I know I do sometimes, and I don't mean to here. I also know I sometimes do the same thing I'm warning against in these responses. But I think that it isn't making a mountain out of a molehill to think about how what we do is affecting other people out there. Sure, we can't agonize over how everything will affect every other person in the world. We can't know or comprehend all of that. But when we're putting down people for the sake of humor, that's wrong. Love means valuing people more than other things, even if they're other things we'd like to do, even if they're other things that aren't inherently bad. And I don't think everyone is valuing the people here. March 26, 2013

  24. Bryan Murphy

    Why are people talking about Jesus? This has nothing to do with Christian Mythology. Also, how could a student mistake a camera for a weapon? The admissions criteria for University of Biola must be very low. March 26, 2013

  25. Michelle Mosqueda

    March 26, 2013

  26. Nathan W.

    Kevin: Mad ≠ hateful. Hate can be disguised under a lot of different covers. When you see a post literally shaming the person himself, under the cover of humor, that sure doesn't seem loving to me. March 26, 2013

  27. Hopeful Graduate

    Hakuna Matata... March 26, 2013

  28. Alum (the one from #7, not #21)

    To "Surprised":

    You completely misreprested what I said by changing what I said. I didn't say we should say "Praise God it wasn't real"... we should. That's compeletely approprite and I said the same thing as soon as it was confirmed a hoax. I was referring to "Disappointed's" quote that said "It is only by the grace of God that this was not real and we are safe". That is a totally different thing because it implies that there was actual real danger in the first place (of which there was not). So yes, let's give thanks to God that nothing bad happened when there was concern that there wasn't, but let's keep the persective that it was a completely false alarm.

    -- This is probably unnecessary, but in case my disctinction is lost I'll give a different example. If I walked to the dollar theater tonight and back would it be correct to say it was "only by the grace of God I wasn't mugged?" While that's *technically* correct in the sense that any statement involving God's sovernty, it implies that the situation was so dangerous that the default would be that I would have been mugged. Now if, on the other hand, I was mugged at gunpoint, then the statement that it was "only by the grace of God I wasn't harmed" would be totally correct. Yes, it's a linguistical distinction but one gives more power to the fear felt in a false alarm then is deserved after all is seen in the light of day. And I think it's important for us to resist unneccary fear even in the way we speak about past events because we should not be indulging fear after all the facts show there was never any real danger. March 26, 2013

  29. Student

    Why are we still dwelling on this? It happened, there is no changing that! We should all move on and not hold a grudge against people who made a mistake. We are human, not all of our decisions are sound ones. I know mine aren't and I don't condone anyone for what they did or how anything went down. Let's put this behind us and move on as a campus. March 26, 2013

  30. Ask Questions

    I was a bit confused, and angry that someone would mistake a tripod for a gun. Why? Because a lock down is a SERIOUS thing and it can trigger traumatic memories for people who've experienced something similar to it as a form a persecution. Or what if someone had been in a real lock down situation, and it triggered those memories? We have students from all different walks of life on our campus… However, just because I was upset with action does not mean I hate the person nor am I unsympathetic. It's a reminder of how exhausted mentally, and likely physically as well, we all are. Simple mistake, but it has huge consequences. We have to be on guard…
    As for the video, and humor around it---again as it has been already asked---why are you judging those people? Even this article portrays it in a humorous yet informative way. Stop trying to create conflict over nothing. Creating conflict only breeds a worse environment here. If you want to talk about disrespect, start checking your own attitude first. When you point your finger at someone, you have three pointing back at you.
    I applaud Campo for taking action to protect the students, even though there were other conflicts that arose due to it. Timing might be an issue though, as Facebook, Twitter, and Text Messages seemed to move faster than the alert system. :) I'm glad they take these serious and protect us the students. They are here for this very purpose, to keep Biola a safe campus.
    But for the students, I am more concerned about crying wolf too many times. It does breed an attitude of 'oh well it's just another alarm' like our fire drills we do so frequently. What if a real event like that happened? Scenarios like this have happened so frequently in the News but we don't want to get desensitized to the reality of it. We need to be ready for it, but not so ‘oh not again…’ This event could be looked as practice for the real deal…we don’t often have them. Although frustrating, it is something that has a different vantage point.
    So in short, be alert and try to see beyond the instant situation, which means ask questions rather than assume you know. And quit being self-righteous, and superior to your brothers and sisters in Christ, we’re all human, and we’re not in our glorified states yet so we all still sin and have vices. Pointing fingers and the blaming game is straight back to Genesis 3. Please have grace and love for your brothers and sisters rather than condemnation and judgment.
    Thank you, and God bless.
    March 26, 2013

  31. Notification System is HORRIBLE

    Hey, to everyone who says those who didn't get a text alert:

    I'm signed up to get the texts. I receive test texts when it happens. I didn't get a text OR an email, for that matter. March 26, 2013

  32. person

    frankly, i wouldnt mind being shot by a camera.... March 26, 2013

  33. Andrew

    I was a student over 10 years ago, and there were two "gun incidents" on campus, that I witnessed first hand. In both cases, armed suspects were being pursued and ran onto campus.

    Point is, sometimes the threat is real. It sounds like Campus Safety did an excellent job reacting to the information they were given. Better safe then sorry. Great job Campus Safety! March 27, 2013

  34. Yet Another Alum (and gun owner)

    Just goes to prove the old Journalists' Firearms Identification Chart joke...

    Seriously, confusing a monopod and a gun is bad enough. Crying "Wolf! With an AK47!!" is just ridiculous. March 27, 2013

  35. Stop, All of you

    Do not let the enemy divide us over this.

    Console those who need consolation.

    Be merry with those that are lighthearted.

    But do not tear yourselves up. March 27, 2013

  36. Shaefer

    Why are so few people willing to put their names on their snarky comments? If you aren't willing to accept the consequences of what you say, maybe putting it on the internet isn't the best thing for you to do. March 27, 2013

  37. Megan

    Ditto Shaefer. Hiding behind anonymity makes it all to easy to ignore compassion and let rudeness run wild. Perhaps we shouldn't say anything unless we're willing to own what we say and take responsibility for it. March 27, 2013

  38. Yet Another Alum (and gun owner)

    @Megan & Schaefer: by that standard, using anything but your full name is still hiding. I know a lot of Megans. *shrugs*

    I dunno if you were directing any of that at me, but my point was rather *cough* on target; someone has an active imagination ***and was leading Campus Safety and LASD on a wild goose chase with guns drawn***. How does "Guy A sees what he thinks is gun in bathroom" turn into someone else reporting a man with an AK?

    I build rifles as a hobby. they're not small. they look very distinctive. I can understand when people think they saw a handgun (small, sticking out of a bag or pocket, etc). A man with an AK is a rather unique and distinctive sight.

    Guy A did fine. Does 1-x shouldn't play "telephone" with LASD or someone might get seriously hurt. March 28, 2013


    Whoever called the gun in is a hero. if what he saw appeared to be a gun, it made him go to his fellow classmates and inform them. THAT"s a HERO! Would you take the time to do that???And that's a person who cares... All of you foolish people who think he made a mistake should reconsider... What if it was real? Don't be stuck in a bubble. Reality is...We live in a sinful world so don't think that nothing will ever happen just because you go to a christian university. If anything, realize that you are the salt of the earth so expect hatred... That's REALITY! John 15:17 "If the world hates you, you know that it hated Me before it hated you 19 If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world!!!... WE BELONG TO JESUS! Look at everything with Jesus eyes before you make judgment... March 29, 2013

  40. morani

    agree with you, nice post March 29, 2013

  41. morani

    These are some great tips! March 31, 2013

  42. lolcmon

    My roomate at Biola threatened to shoot everyone back in 2009. So its not unheard of that people may or may not commit gun violence on campus. My roomate was arrested at 2am in my dorm room. October 4, 2015

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