/ Modified oct 14, 2013 11:40 a.m.

UAPD Explains Varied Response to Reported Gunmen

First report was done in March, second one was last week; in both occasions no suspects or guns were found.


The University of Arizona's Police Department has responded to two reports of gunmen on campus in the last five months, and the responses varied greatly.

The department gauges its response based on the information it has when an investigation begins, said UAPD Sgt. Filbert Barrera, a spokesman for the department.

In March 2013, the department received a report saying there was a man with a gun spotted in the administration building in the middle of the main campus. Multiple buildings were placed on lockdown, then evacuated, and movement on campus was restricted for hours as police conducted a search for the suspect. However, no one was arrested, and no gun was found.

Last week, the department took a call reporting another alleged man with a gun in the Cherry Avenue garage, near McKale Center and Arizona Stadium. In less than an hour, police cleared the scene and allowed public activity to resume in that portion of campus.

The difference in the reported information drove the varied responses, Barrera said.

"One of them was involving a building that was very large, one of them was just a parking structure. The first one also involved multiple reports and an unverified reportee, the second one involved the specific report from one person who reported to us what they saw, where they saw it and gave us an approximate time with a description," he said.

In the case of the parking garage, once again, the police didn't find a gun on campus.

"We were able to search one a lot faster given the information we had, the other one we had to take our time specifically for making sure the campus and the people were safe," Barrera said.

Those incidents are not included in the department's recently released annual crime statistics report, only actual crimes are listed in the annual report.

Some of the crime figures fluctuated from 2012 to 2013, according to the report. Forcible sex offenses went up in 2013, but drug law arrests went down.

Some of the fluctuation can be attributed to enforcement and education efforts, Barrera said.

Sexual assaults are one of the most under-reported crimes, he said.

"Over the past couple of years, (UAPD), the (UA) Dean of Students, Campus Health and ASUA have all done a really good job of educating students on the reporting of sexual assault," Barrera explained.

Some of the crimes that dropped, such as liquor law and drug law arrests, may be attributed to the department's ability to seek other outcomes, he said. For UA students, the department can recommend a university-sanctioned diversion program instead of arrest, he said.

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