Philadelphia campus lockdown strikes chord after Internet threat
A student's claim that a man pulled a gun on campus renewed anxiety one day after the FBI warned Philly schools of an unspecified threat, rumored to be a copycat warning based on last weekend's shooting in Oregon.
Reports that a college student had a gun pulled on him on a Philadelphia campus this morning did little to reassure a city on edge since the Federal Bureau of Investigation alerted area schools of a vague, possible threat on Monday.
However, the incident appears to be isolated and does not show an obvious connection to the previous warning.
A student at the Community College of Philadelphia told police that an acquaintance pulled a gun on him around 9:30 this morning, prompting a shelter-in-place while police searched for the suspect. Police have not said whether the suspect is also a student, but reported that the two men “have a history.” Neither was injured and police have taken the suspected gunman into custody.
Local universities were already on high alert this week, after the FBI informed area schools of a vague threat of violence on Monday, although many carried on with classes and activities.
The FBI did not cite a specific threat, but netizens tracked down an alarming message on 4chan, the same anonymous-user website where the Umpqua Community College shooter in Oregon is rumored to have posted a warning the day before the massacre last Thursday.
On Sunday, an anonymous 4chan user posted under the heading “The Beta Rebellion has begun”:
The first of our kind has struck fear into the hearts of America. His cries have been heard, even by the President…
On October 5, 2015 at 1:00 PM CT, a fellow robot will take up arms against a university in Philadelphia. His cries will be heard, his victims will cower in fear, and the strength of the Union will decay a little more...
The post closes by invoking “Hiro have mercy on us all. Lend us your strength to fight this evil.”
4chan has attracted criticism as a “bastion of cyber-pranksters” with “a long history of wreaking havoc,” in the words of ABC affiliate WPVI-TV.
Monday in Philadelphia came and went without reports of an attack.
This report contains material from the Associated Press.