Law Schools

Lockdown Ends at Northwestern Law School; No Gunman Found

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A building at Northwestern Law School in Chicago was on lockdown this morning as police investigated a report of a man with a gun in his waistband.

No one matching the description of the gunman was found, despite an “intensive search,” Northwestern announced on its website. The lockdown was lifted shortly before 1 p.m.

The law school will hold afternoon classes, although access to the building is restricted, the law school said. “The investigation into the incident is continuing.”

Northwestern had called for a lockdown after a man was reportedly spotted at about 10 a.m. in the elevator on the 11th floor of the Rubloff building on the Chicago campus. Students got word of the lockdown by text messages and e-mail. The building houses some law school classrooms as well and faculty and staff offices.

Second-year law student Mike Purtill wrote a message during the lockdown that was forwarded to the ABA Journal. “We’re in a locked classroom, and police are outside,” the message said. “Police aren’t letting anyone in the school and patting everyone down who leaves.”

A source at the scene told the blog Above the Law: “You’ve probably heard by now, but the place is on lockdown, no one is allowed to leave. The place is swarming with fuzz. A good portion of the classes are under their desks.”

Afterward, Purtill met up with seven other students at a restaurant off campus. He told the ABA Journal in a telephone interview that he was in a business associations class at about 10:15 a.m. when students first learned of the lockdown by e-mail. One student notified the professor, who stopped teaching and locked the door.

Students waited for more e-mail updates, as they called family and friends to update them on their situation, Purtill said. “We were a little scared, but the doors were locked ,and there were police outside,” he told the ABA Journal. “So people felt pretty secure in the room we were in.”

An assistant dean walked through the school at about 1:15 p.m. and told students they could leave. “As we were leaving, they brought in the camouflage guys with the machine guns, and they walked through the atrium and made sure everyone was OK as they were leaving.” Purtill said he assumed the “camouflage guys” were Chicago police officers.

Greg O’Brien, who lives in a building across the street, told the Daily Northwestern that he heard about the report of a gun on a police scanner. According to the scanner report, a woman became alarmed after standing next to a “nervous” student carrying a gun in an elevator, he said.

The Chicago Tribune first reported the notice in an e-mail alert.

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