UPDATE: Two men arrested Monday night, Jan. 18, in connection with this incident have been charged in Saline County Circuit Court. Maurice Earl Jackson, 19, and Oluchukwu Michael Wogu, 18, both of Marshall were each charged with misdemeanor possession of up to 35 grams of marijuana and misdemeanor unlawful use of drug paraphernalia.
Marshall police responded to the Missouri Valley College campus shortly after 6 p.m. Monday, Jan. 18, after receiving reports of an altercation possibly involving a gun.
Police Chief Mike Donnell said a group of people were involved in an argument and one man took something that appeared to be a gun from his pocket and ran away.
Police later discovered that the weapon was a BB gun.
The report that a gun might be involved was what prompted the college alarm system to be activated, Donnell said.
"It was a safety precaution," he said.
Police and Missouri State Highway Patrol troopers located individuals who allegedly were involved and two people were taken into custody.
Donnell said no fight apparently took place, no shots were fired and no one was injured in the incident.
During interviews with students, police learned the identity of a suspect. Officers went to a house on South Conway Avenue occupied by four people. After receiving permission to search the residence, officers discovered two makeshift smoking devices, loose marijuana, an electric scales, a marijuana grinder and two CO2-powered BB guns, one of which "looked and felt like a real handgun," according to a police department news release.
One of the suspects was arrested on suspicion of unlawful use of a weapon, and another was arrested on suspicion of possession of marijuana and drug paraphernalia.
A probable cause statement has been forwarded to the Saline County Prosecuting Attorney's office, police said.
The college activated its crisis response plan at approximately 6:15 p.m., due to allegations of a weapon on campus, according to a news release sent out by e-mail shortly before 9 a.m. Tuesday, Jan. 19.
MVC campus security and the Marshall Police Department were immediately notified of the situation, and the campus was put on lock down. Two suspects were apprehended by the MPD at approximately 8:30 p.m., and the "all-clear" siren was activated.
As stated in the MVC student handbook,"there is zero tolerance for violent behavior or possession of weapons of any sort on campus," officials said.
"We are pleased with the cooperation of the Marshall Police Department and other authorities, our administration, and students, and the effectiveness of our crisis response plan," Dean of Students Heath Morgan said. "Our number one goal is the safety of our students, faculty, staff and all visitors."
MVC President Bonnie Humphrey said she, too, is pleased with the response of the administration and authorities.
"Dean of Students Heath Morgan and campus security reacted in a timely manner to ensure the safety of our campus community," Humphrey said. "We have worked diligently to train our faculty, staff, and students on campus safety and security as outlined in the crisis response plan. The local media, KMMO Radio and Marshall Democrat-News, did an excellent job of working with our administration and providing information to Marshall residents."
The crisis response plan, which provides information, guidelines and procedures to the MVC community, is available at http://www.moval.edu/student_affairs/doc....
The plan highlights definitions of emergencies and alert signals, emergency contacts, campus responsibilities, facility evacuation procedures, emergency procedures and more.
Installation was completed in January 2008 of a modular siren between Collins Science Center and Young Hall.
The installation of the siren allows security personnel to alert individuals on campus by using pre-recorded instructions and alerts along with high intensity warning signals. A wireless activation method of the messages and warning signals decreases the activation time during an emergency.