A 20-year-old Illinois man was arrested and charged in connection with an alert that went out on the Iowa State University campus early Sunday morning. I.S.U. spokeswoman Annette Hacker says Iowa State police received a call, reporting a man with a gun was on the sixth floor of Willow Hall which is a residence hall on the east side of campus.
Police determined it was a "credible threat" and emergency messages were sent to 29,000 students, faculty and staff via phone, text message and e-mail at 1:40 a.m. Sunday. Jawon R. Jackson of Aurora, Illinois, was found about 20 minutes later in a dorm room. "There’s no automatic link because Mr. Jackson is not an I.S.U. student," Hacker says.
Jackson’s been charged with harassment as well as a series of felonies for carrying a gun on campus. Although no gun has been found, authorities say witnesses reported seeing the suspect with a gun. The dorm where the incident took place, however, wasn’t as full as normal. "The vast majority of our students are away on spring break," Hacker says. "Willow Residence Hall normally has a capacity of about 500. There were only about 30 students there overnight."
Last week, there was a lock-down in residence halls on the University of Northern Iowa campus after a student told authorities her boyfriend was threatening to drive to campus and shoot her. The boyfriend, 20-year-old Todd Younk, was arrested at his mother’s home in Des Moines and charged with first-degree harassment.
Hacker, Iowa State’s spokeswoman, says these incidents, along with tragedies on other campuses, illustrate the importance of having an alert system. "We’re just grateful that everyone is O.K., that the plans that Iowa State had in place to respond to this type of incident worked," Hacker says. "It was the first time we used the Iowa State Alert System for an actual emergency notification. We tested it several times…and we’re glad that it worked as well in practice as it had in theory."