Toy gun causes campus lockdown

An unidentified man was spotted with what appeared to be a handgun near Dod Hall Wednesday morning, June 3, causing a brief lockdown of the Princeton campus. The situation was resolved within an hour after an investigation found that the gun was actually a toy, according to the University's Office of Communications.

Public Safety received its first report of a gun on campus at 10:36 a.m. At approximately 10:50 a.m., staff, faculty, and students began receiving messages from the University's automated emergency alert system. "There is a gunman on Princeton's campus," the message said. "This is a real emergency. Public Safety will issue more instructions as information becomes available." The location of the incident was revealed in a message on the homepage of the University Web site.

Four juveniles who are not Princeton students were taken into custody near campus, according to police. "The suspected handgun was a dark green plastic toy that could be confused with an actual weapon," the Office of Communications reported. "The toy was retrieved near the Wawa on University Place."

At 11:34 a.m., the University issued an all-clear message, telling people to "resume normal activities." "Everything has been resolved," University spokeswoman Emily Aronson told the Star-Ledger. "It was a toy gun."

A similar incident caused a lockdown at Princeton March 6. Borough police said that an undergraduate ran through campus carrying an imitation assault rifle, sparking calls to Public Safety. The University sent out an alert at 12:42 the next morning, urging students to remain inside and to lock all windows and doors. According to The Daily Princetonian, the student received the alert and called Public Safety to say that he thought he might have caused the incident; he was taken into custody and later released. At 1:24 a.m., Public Safety notified students that there was no threat.