HOLYOKE, Mass. (WWLP) - Thousands of students were evacuated and Massachusetts State Police converged on the campus of Holyoke Community College on Tuesday afternoon, after a student allegedly made a threat to the campus.
According to a Massachusetts State Police news release sent to 22News, the suspect, a young man, had made threats to a family member, and members of the college community. The campus made the decision to evacuate after learning of the threat.
Between 3,000 and 4,000 students and staff were removed from classes around noon time. Additional students were told in a phone blast from the school not to come to the campus. Amid the evacuation, there was heavy traffic both going in and coming out of the school, as long lines of cars tried to leave campus, while others tried to get on-campus to pick students up.
HCC student Geoffrey Putnam explained for 22News what the situation was like:
"I was in the computer lab, and I was just getting ready for my class at 2:00, and then some teacher, lady came running in and she was just ‘Oh, everybody needs to evacuate the campus, there's a threat or something going on, and everybody needs to leave!' So, everybody just starts running out of the classes, and now we're in the parking lot. It's kind of freaky, though, you don't know what's really going on," Putnam said.
State Police say that the threat suspect was arrested at a home in Springfield and is currently being questioned by troopers.
Bill Fogarty, Holyoke Community College's Vice President of Administration and Finance, told 22News that the suspect is an HCC student.
Fogarty says that the situation is now considered resolved, and the campus will be re-opened for evening classes starting at 4:00 P.M. He said that because the threat was specific, there is no need for the campus to add security.
The investigation into the threat is now being handled by the Springfield Police Department, Holyoke Police Department, and State Police. Fogarty says the threat was originally reported to Springfield police, who notified Holyoke police, who in turn notified the campus.