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Don Davis, Forum News Service, Published November 11 2013

Attempted armed robbery forces University of Minnesota students to take shelter

MINNEAPOLIS - University of Minnesota officials asked students and others on the western part of its Twin Cities campus to take shelter for nearly an hour Monday afternoon following an attempted armed robbery.

A university tweet at 4:10 p.m. said the emergency was over: “Search of West Bank complete. No further need to take shelter. This was an attempted robbery -- no shooting occurred.”

University officials said they believed the person had left campus, but told students to “remain on alert” and report any suspicious activity to 911.

A female student was inside Anderson Hall when the man approached her and showed a gun. She apparently shouted and the man fled through a tunnel system.

No one was reported hurt during the incident.

Even without a shot being fired, the incident bothered students.

“A lot of students are having a variety of emotions depending on their connections to the West Bank part of campus...” agriculture education student Brooke Wente of Morris said in an email before the all-clear was issued. “Right now I'm on the St. Paul campus so I don't really feel in danger; however, it is kinda scary getting texts and emails about an armed robber being present on campus.”

Tweets from students and others on campus discussed the incident, sometimes including photos of students locked in classrooms.

A university alert, sent after 3 p.m. said: “Person possibly armed with a gun seen in Anderson Hall. People on the West Bank campus should shelter in place until further notice. UMPD searching for a man with a gun at Anderson Hall described as African American male, age 20, 6 feet tall, wearing a black puffy hooded jacket. Call 911 if seen.”

Less than an hour later, the university followed with: “Police remain on alert but believe the suspect has left campus. All regular classes/activities will continue as planned.”

Some classes scheduled to start around when the incident occurred were canceled for the day.

Anderson Hall, on the western edge of campus, contains a bookstore and administrative offices.

As university officials were declaring an all-clear in the West Bank robbery attempt, several fire trucks arrived on the East Bank to investigate a suspected gas leak in the mechanical engineering building.