Police kill man wielding machete on CU Boulder campus at Champions Center

No other injuries as police kill suspect
Posted at 9:40 AM, Oct 05, 2016
and last updated 2016-10-06 02:31:21-04

BOULDER, Colo. -- Minutes after asking students to take protective actions Wednesday morning due to a suspect on the CU Boulder campus with a machete, police shot the man dead. 

Campus officials say they received a 911 call at 9:15 a.m. reporting that a man with a machete was menacing a patient who was receiving treatment at the sports therapy facility in the Champions Center.

"The man made threatening and harassing statements to our patient," said CU Police Chief Melissa Zak.

She said the patient, who was in the parking lot, then entered Champions Center and went to the second floor.

"Our suspect continued to follow the patient up to the second floor," she added, "which generated another round of calls to the city and CU police departments."

Zak said a staff member saw the suspect and realized it was an "active harmer" situation, so "she too called police."

Officers confronted the suspect on the 4th floor of the stairwell.

When asked if they conversed with the suspect, CUPD Spokesman Scott Pribble said, "I don't know if you'd call it truly a conversation.  There was a dialogue, back and forth, asking the suspect to put down the weapon and that person did not comply."

Police eventually fired shots, killing the suspect.

"I heard some yelling, like action words, like 'move and go,'" said CU Student Lauren Paul, who was eating breakfast with several other people in the cafeteria at the Champions Center. "Then we heard gunshots. in the stairwell next to us.  Everything was silent after that, so we were really scared."

No other people were injured in the event, and police said all members of the student body and faculty are safe. Police announced the campus was safe at 9:40 a.m., just 25 minutes after alerts went out to students. 

"On behalf of the entire campus, I want to thank the CU Police Department and Boulder Police Department for their quick action in resolving this situation and ensuring that no one was harmed here with the exception of the suspect," CU Boulder Spokesperson Ryan Huff said. 

Zak attributed the quick response to frequent training.

She said CUPD has made 1,200 presentations to students, staff and campus groups.

The man police killed has yet to be identified. Police say they expect to investigate in Champions Center throughout the day. They asked students to stay clear of that area, but did say classes would continue as normal. 

"It's business as usual. Everything on campus is normal operations with the exception of the Champions Center," Huff said. 

Business did not follow as usual on campus, however. Hours into police investigation, calls rang out, prompting another alert sent to students. 

Officers responded just after 1 p.m. to false reports of an active shooter at the University Memorial Center (UMC). After branding the reports as false, minutes later the campus announced the reports were unconfirmed. 

The reports prompted the evacuation of the UMC building, as police swept through it. 

Officers soon after gave the 'all clear' signal, calling the threat a likely hoax. 

Both the UMC building and the Champions Center remained closed for the day. Classes are slated to be normal through the night. 

In a press conference at 4 p.m., police didn't offer new details, but did say police officers from the CU Boulder police force and the Boulder Police Department each fired upon the suspect when he didn't obey orders. 

Boulder Police Chief Greg Testa said both officers have been placed on administrative leave for the duration of the investigation.  He said that is standard procedure.

"Our deepest thoughts and prayers are for those affected by the violence," said CU-Boulder Chancellor, Phil DiStefano. 

He added that resources are available for those who want help dealing with what they witnessed or experienced.

On the hoax, CU Boulder officials say they will review how they can communicate better in the future.

Additional details from the investigation will be released to the public when the investigation closes.

Champions Center

The Champions Center is described as a state-of-the-art sports center near CU Boulder's Folsom Field. The Champions Center includes the football team's locker room and lounge, along with coaching and administrative offices and training facilities.

Messages from the campus to its students. 


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