The University says 18-year-old Harrison Tsimouris — a U-I student and resident of Burge — was arrested Saturday evening after admitting the text message he sent was intended to be a prank. He was later charged with filing a false report to a public entity.
Scott Beckner, assistant vice president and director of the U-I Department of Public Safety, says in a statement that this incident was not only a crime, but a highly irresponsible action that put students, staff, and officers at risk.
“Although we are trained to handle these scenarios safely, mass evacuations create additional safety hazards. Students exiting the building could have been seriously injured by running and squeezing through doorways or falling down steps,” says Beckner. “Only by the orderly exiting by our students, an appropriate response by officers and staff to assist, and luck did we not have reports of students physically injured during this incident.”
Tsimouris was taken into custody for questioning on Saturday, October 15th after telling a friend via text message that there was an active shooter in Burge as a joke, which prompted the friend to call police.
U-I Police quickly determined there was not a threat, which was supported when the student who reported the incident called police back to say his friend was joking. U-I Police then began an investigation and brought both students in for questioning.