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University of Minnesota Duluth police Lt. Sean Huls (left) listens as Sgt. Tim LeGarde briefs media and members of the UMD community Thursday morning, March 6, 2014, about an incident where two people were believed to have a firearm on campus. The weapon turned out to be an air gun. DULUTH NEWS TRIBUNE/Steve Kuchera

Two arrested in air gun incident on UMD campus

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Two arrested in air gun incident on UMD campus
Detroit Lakes Minnesota 511 Washington Avenue 56501

DULUTH -- Two teenage males were taken into custody at the University of Minnesota Duluth on Thursday morning after police responded to a report that a gun was seen on campus.

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The weapon turned out to be an air pistol, said Sgt. Tim LeGarde of the UMD Police Department. No one was injured. A “shelter in place” notification was sent to students and staff until police were able to confirm that there was no threat to public safety.

LeGarde said two males, ages 15 and 19, are facing charges of disorderly conduct, underage consumption of alcohol and possession of marijuana. Ammunition was also found on one of the suspects, LeGarde said.

The two are not UMD students and police could not tie them to any people on campus, LeGarde said. Police are still investigating why the two entered the bus hub at Kirby Plaza just after 7 a.m.

A UMD employee saw what looked like a gun drop out of a jacket and called 911 at 7:16. Three minutes later, Officer Mike Brostrom met up with the suspects outside on Kirby Drive near the science building. He drew his gun and asked them to stop, LeGarde said. The suspects were described as uncooperative and at one point told Brostrom to shoot, LeGarde said. The officer kept the two in place while UMD and Duluth Police Department officers arrived and arrests were made. The air pistol, which LeGarde said could easily be mistaken for a real handgun, was recovered during the arrests.

The 19-year-old is at the St. Louis County Jail. The 15-year-old is being held at Arrowhead Juvenile Detention Center.

The 19-year-old has past convictions starting when he was 16 for interfering with police, underage drinking, criminal sexual conduct, disorderly conduct and criminal damage to property.

The university sent out an email and phone text alert to students and employees just before 8 a.m. — after the arrests — advising them to “shelter in place.” By 8:25 an “all clear” was issued, and Duluth police said the campus was safe.

UMD police Lt. Sean Huls said the warning system worked despite word coming about 40 minutes after the incident was reported. He said specific information is hard to come by while a scene is active.

“It takes an amount of time,” he said.

LeGarde said the system worked. He said Thursday’s incident wasn’t the first of its kind on campus.

Huls said it is impossible to shut the campus down given its size and the many public access points. LeGarde said the incident occurred just before the first major influx of students and employees arrive on campus. Streets to the bus hub area off Kirby Drive were blocked and people who happened upon the scene were told to leave the area.

“I think this is a good example of the quality of our reaction,” LeGarde said.

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