Princeton Gun Scare Ends With 4 in Custody

Lockdown lasted nearly an hour

Princeton University was in lockdown after a person holding what appeared to be a handgun was spotted on campus, school officials said. The lockdown lasted for nearly an hour.

Police took four juvenile suspects into custody just before 11:30 a.m. None of the four suspects were students. One had a dark green toy gun in his waistband that school officials said could have been mistaken for a real gun.

The four kids were apparently rummaging through some sort of trash dumpster and told cops that's where they found the toy gun, police sources told One of the juveniles picked up the fake gun, put it in his belt and started walking away with the other three kids when a woman spotted the gun in his waistband and called police. It's not clear whether or not she was a student.

No shots were fired. It wasn't clear how many people were on campus at the time of the incident. Police believe the incident stemmed from a bigger problem of kids from town going on campus and rummaging through dumpsters looking for unused alcohol, which campus security says has been on ongoing problem.

This is the message posted on Princeton's Web site:

"At 11:25 a.m. Wednesday, June 3, Princeton University's Department of Public Safety issued an all clear, and has reported there was no gunman on campus.

Campus community members should resume normal activities. The investigation was conducted with Princeton Borough police assisted by Township police, and the Department of Public Safety has re-opened the campus.

At 10:36 a.m., a male with what appeared to be a handgun was reported near the vicinity of Dod Hall dormitory. There was no report of any threatening behavior or injuries. Public Safety responded immediately by issuing a campus alert instructing people to stay indoors, by patrolling and by limiting access to campus.

The first report and a second tip led Borough police to four juveniles who were taken into custody near campus. The questioning revealed that the suspected handgun was a dark green plastic toy that could be confused with an actual weapon. The toy was retrieved near the Wawa on University Place.

The juveniles are not Princeton University students."

Earlier, Princeton had cautioned students to stay inside while police investigated reports of a gunman. 

The university's commencement ceremonies were held yesterday. More than 1,100 undergraduates and 753 graduate students received degrees.  

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