No gunman found after USF alert - FOX 13 News

No gunman found after USF alert

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TAMPA (FOX 13) -

Buildings were evacuated and students locked themselves down Friday while police at the University of South Florida spent the afternoon looking for a possible gunman on campus.

It all started just after 1:30 p.m. when a man, possibly carrying a gun, was reported jumping a fence between the Shriner's Hospital and Moffitt Cancer Center.

"This is someone who called and reported to us something that looked alarming to them, so we're moving forward, searching and evacuating the building," explained Lt. Charlotte Domingo of USF police.  "We can't take it lightly."

The university issued a text alert warning of a possible armed intruder in the USF Health area and offered only a vague description of the man: Black, short with a lean build, and wearing blue shirt and khaki shorts.

"Remain alert. Avoid area. Follow police instructions," the message stated.

The College of Nursing building was evacuated and students in other health buildings reported that they were effectively in a lockdown mode. At least one class took it upon themselves to block their door with chairs and furniture.

"A lot of students and faculty were scared. Predominately females," said Alexander Buettell.

"Then you start to see cops on every corner with big guns that's when its more real than I expected," a junior medical student said.

By 4 p.m., the nursing building had been reopened. An hour later, the all-clear was given.

"Area cleared. No armed subject found," the university's website announced.

Friday's alert came two weeks after a man went on a violent crime spree near the campus, breaking into apartments and raping several women before leading police on a chase that ended in a shootout.

Student Tejas "TJ" Shanthe Gowda was at the party near USF that gunman Chris Bates broke into.

"I was scared because I was all alone in the room my colleagues came and locked the door," he said. "That's twice for me, I'm scared to be in Tampa now."

Bates' crime spree seemed to be on the minds of a lot of students, who took to Twitter to offer some commentary.

"Are we making this a regular thing now?" one tweet said.

"Time to move," another offered.

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