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Kari Lucin, Forum News Service, Published November 11 2013

Lockdown last week on Jamestown campus prompted by ‘satanic’ threats

JAMESTOWN, N.D. - The man in custody after a lockdown of the University of Jamestown threatened to kill three students and “drink their blood as a satanic ritual,” according to an emergency call made by a dean at the school.

Information from the call log of the Stutsman County Communications Center indicates that the call to police prompting the lockdown came from Gary Van Zinderen, the university’s dean of students, at 10:45 a.m. Thursday.

That log entry states, “Robert Flores has threatened other students and himself. Stated he was going to kill three girl students and drink their blood as a satanic ritual. Unknown where male is at this time.”

A previous report in the log, made at 1:14 a.m. Thursday, states, “(UJ campus security) requests officers for a very strange male ... making strange ‘satanic’ threats.”

Flores, 18, of Thousand Oaks, Calif., was taken into custody Thursday in downtown Jamestown, after the brief lockdown of the campus that began at 10:45 a.m.

“He’s not out on the street. He has not been arrested,” Jamestown Police Chief Scott Edinger said Friday, emphasizing that the investigation is still in its early stages. “He is receiving some sort of health care. To this point, he has not been formally charged.”

The people Flores allegedly threatened will not be available for police to speak with until Monday at the earliest, Edinger said.

“(Flores) is denying that those things ever happened,” Edinger said. “He acknowledges that he spoke about it, but he denies making any type of threats.”

The Stutsman County State’s Attorney’s Office will decide whether to charge Flores after it receives a police report, Edinger said.

Flores was a freshman at the University of Jamestown but “is not actively a student, as far as I know,” university President Bob Badal said Friday.

School officials and police continue to gather information.

About 75 students, faculty and staff met over the noon hour Friday to learn about the events that led to the lockdown, with about 20 people staying for small group interaction with counselors.

The meeting was closed to the public.

“We know it’s not the last conversation we need to have on campus, as there will continue to be questions and after-effects from this experience,” Badal said. “… I think it was the first step toward building a better understanding of recent events on campus for the students.”

The private liberal arts school has about 1,000 students.

While the school’s email system was effective in communicating the lockdown to students, there were some reports that texts from its emergency text messaging system were not received by some who had opted in, Badal said.

Even so, word spread quickly and the campus was entirely shut down.

“Faculty and staff that were in each building did a great job of communicating to people in the buildings what was going on,” said Polly Peterson, the university’s vice president for advancement and business affairs.

“I feel like it’s not going to be perfect. This was our first time that we’ve ever had something of this magnitude. We will be debriefing and talking about the things that went well, and didn’t go well, and making adjustments, I’m sure,” Peterson added.

The incident could lead the university to fine-tune its procedures, Badal said.