Appalachian State

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Gaston County student says Appalachian State University became ghost town during Monday lockdown

Dallas native Katie Moose was walking to her dorm at Appalachian State University Monday, when she received a frightening phone call.

Her professor called to tell her that her class was cancelled because an armed man was loose on campus. And what’s worse, the armed man was last seen in the same area where Moose was walking about five minutes before she got the call.

About 4:45 p.m., police began searching for a man seen carrying a gun near an apartment complex on Hill Street. At 4:50-4:55 p.m., Moose said she parked her car in a lot on Hill Street and was walking nearby. Within 10 or 15 minutes, the entire campus was on lockdown.

“I didn’t run, but I power walked across campus to my dorm,” said Moose, as she sat in her dorm room just before 6:30 p.m. Monday.

As of 6:32 p.m., when the emergency lockdown was cancelled, no shots had been fired and no one was harmed, but the armed man had not been found.

Despite random gun violence at Northern Illinois University last month and Virginia Tech last year, Moose said she was still shocked and unprepared for the threat of a shooting at Appalachian State. Police and university officials managed the emergency response well, she said.

When she received the call from her professor, Moose said some students were still moving about on campus, but awareness of a potential shooter was spreading quickly because everybody appeared to be heading for cover. Moose said the professor that called her did not give her a description of the armed man, so from her perspective, it could have been anyone.

“I had no clue,” she said. “Nobody really stopped to talk. If you had someplace to be, you were trying to get there. I was just trying to get away from the area where he was last seen.”

Moose said she called her roommate as she walked home and asked her to check the Internet for more information about the armed man.

When Moose got to her dorm, the resident assistant and a security officer greeted her at the door. Moose said she was scared until she got to her dorm room, then she felt safe.

For the next two hours, Moose said she and her roommate did homework and watched the news for updates. During the lockdown, Moose said no one was allowed to leave campus buildings.

And police guarded all the entrances so no one could come onto campus either, she said.

“There’s nobody walking. You can’t even hear anybody from the hallway,” Moose said. “Once lockdown hit, it was like a ghost town. Everything just stopped.”

All classes were cancelled Monday evening, but were scheduled to resume today.

At about 7:30 p.m., Moose said she could hear people moving around inside her dorm, but she’d seen few people venturing outside. University officials warned students to be cautious if they did go out Monday night.

Moose, who attended North Gaston High School, said her initial fears had passed, but with an armed man possibly roaming campus, she didn’t plan on leaving her dorm Monday.

“I feel a lot better in the dorm,” she said.

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