Trinity College Campus Lockdown… in Tweets

Posted on Friday, October 23 2009 by Heather Brandon

behindtherocksYesterday at about 5:30 pm, according to a report in the Courant, police in Hartford responded to a report of a robbery at a McDonald’s restaurant at 507 Flatbush Avenue. The 21-year-old armed and dangerous suspect was reported to be barefoot, wearing tan shorts and a grey t-shirt over a grey long-sleeved shirt. He evidently fled the scene in a truck and witnesses were able to provide a description. The truck was spotted shortly thereafter, at about 6:10 pm, on Bonner Street not far from the Trinity College campus, where I happened to be headed for a 6:30 pm class. When I arrived at 6:20, there were police all over the steep, wooded hill between Summit and Zion Streets.

By 7:00 pm, the college campus was put under a lockdown—the first time anyone I’ve spoken to can remember such a thing happening. Below is a chronicle of the events as they unfolded on Twitter. As one of the people stuck on campus and witnessing the event first-hand, it was a great relief to be able to interact via tweets with people not on the scene using this often rather frivolous social media tool.

People in my classroom were not terribly flustered, even though our building was right along Summit Street and we could later overhear police trying to negotiate with the suspect using a megaphone, and we observed police with large guns posted up and down Summit. SWAT officers were brought in as well as a search helicopter after the suspect fired shots shortly before 8:00 pm. The scene outside was grim.

The campus lockdown ended at about 10:00 pm, after police finally discovered the suspect in the woods, having sadly taken his own life. He was from North Stonington, Connecticut and according to an email from the college’s dean of students, Fred Alford, the suspect had early indicated somehow to family members his intentions to commit a robbery and then end his life. Why he chose to do this, and in this area in nearly the very center of Hartford in particular, remains a mystery.

6:24 PM Summit St at Trinity College crawling with city cops. Officer tapped on my window and told me to get inside a building right away.

6:25 PM Looks like someone is trying to flee cops on the hill between Zion and Summit. Kind of a tough spot to search now that it’s dark out.

deverywhere 6:27 PM @heddahfeddah That’s a little scary!

sighclub 6:28 PM @heddahfeddah scary!

6:30 PM @deverywhere @sighclub yeah. Beats getting held up, though!

brendanmahoney 6:32 PM @heddahfeddah wow. I just rode my bike through there like ten minutes ago. none of that was happening.

6:31 PM Officer was all, “Um, I don’t mean to alarm you, but… Could you get insidepleaserightawayasfastasyoucanintoabuilding?”

6:32 PM So I was all, “Oh, I’ll be happy to help you in avoiding an unpleasant hostage type situation,” and didn’t say anything and just obliged.

realhartford 6:34 PM @heddahfeddah yeesh! stay safe. I’ve been hearing sirens ALL afternoon

6:35 PM Looked like the action started on Zion St near the E n R market. Not sure just tons of action down there.

KateRothwell 6:38 PM @heddahfeddah YIKES! any idea wtf is going on?

6:42 PM @brendanmahoney could it be…you’re the guy they’re looking for?

6:49 PM Now there’s a lockdown on campus. Dangerous subject possibly on campus. Not good.

6:50 PM @KateRothwell not really… but it seems kind of ugly from what I’m gathering. I’m in class now.

6:51 PM @realhartford nice thick old Trinity walls will hopefully repel the bad guy. Unless there’s an unlocked door. I’m along Summit in class

rachbarlow 6:51 PM @deverywhere @heddahfeddah eek–glad I actually got off campus early tonight, but i hope everyone else stays safe…

TraceyMozdzierz 6:58 PM @heddahfeddah so are you scoping out potential sleep spots.

brendanmahoney 7:04 PM @heddahfeddah it’s possible. I’m a pretty shady character.

7:17 PM Update: suspect is white, barefoot, armed and dangerous, and may have robbed the McDonald’s on Flatbush.

brendanmahoney 7:21 PM @heddahfeddah shit! I’m two of those things!

mrceder 7:22 PM @heddahfeddah Well I was just going to head home, but since there’s a lockdown in the neighbourhood I best not…

fastlanect 7:24 PM @heddahfeddah Excellent updates! Bare feet and armed?

7:36 PM @brendanmahoney you really should turn yourself in

7:49 PM @rachbarlow hoping the same. Still on lockdown here.

7:50 PM @TraceyMozdzierz I hope it doesn’t come to that! But now that you mention it, there is a cute little room with a comfy window seat.

7:51 PM @mrceder you might indeed want to wait a little while, but who knows where this lunatic went.

7:52 PM @fastlanect that’s what the cops are saying…gotta wonder about that eh?

hartfordjoe 7:59 PM @heddahfeddah Escaped just in time from campus.

8:00 PM @heddahfeddah Well, I am heading home for 20.30, otherwise I’ll have to wait until 22.00. I guess I will take my chances. :/

8:08 PM @mrceder just avoid any barefoot white men. Should be easy.

8:09 PM @hartfordjoe yeah – and I got here just in time for this fun and games.

scarybunnies 8:09 PM @heddahfeddah Are you still on lockdown?

paperhurts 8:10 PM @heddahfeddah white and barefoot?! O no you just described 30% of my neighborhood!! Luckily I’m on the other side of the river

8:11 PM @scarybunnies yes – the barefoot gunman is still on the loose. Or maybe he has nunchuks. Or knives. Or…fountain pens.

hartfordjoe 8:13 PM @heddahfeddah I saw a bunch of cops searching through the wooded area across from the Chartwells loading dock on Summit as I was leaving.

gideonstrumpet 8:13 PM @heddahfeddah what? lockdown for what?

8:13 PM @paperhurts he probably didn’t make it that far, it’s true

mrceder 8:14 PM @heddahfeddah I should put some shoes on then.

8:14 PM @hartfordjoe yes you barely missed this. What time was that? I got here at 6:20 and it looked like it had just gotten underway.

8:16 PM @gideonstrumpet white barefoot dude armed and dangerous. Campus lockdown.

8:17 PM Suspect fired at police? // Update on Trinity lockdown situation: (via @realhartford)

hartfordjoe 8:18 PM @heddahfeddah Walked from FH mtg in Learning Corridor, stopped in Mather, then kept going and heard about as I was headed out–6:45 or so?

hartfordjoe 8:19 PM Already hearing from the community haters about how we need to make it Fortress Trinity.

marksherrick 8:21 PM @hartfordjoe the fence isnt enough? lol

hartfordjoe 8:27 PM @marksherrick Apparently not for some.

8:22 PM @hartfordjoe I’m glad you’re okay. Lockdown started right about then and the cops were clearly on edge.

rojopelo 8:23 PM @heddahfeddah holy what? Lockdown at Trinity?!

8:23 PM Courant reports suspect is suicidal. Shots were fired from the woods about 30 mins ago. Negotiators called in. Using a thermal imaging tool.

brendanmahoney 8:24 PM @hartfordjoe yeah. we have to clean up all of stonington’s problems.

gideonstrumpet 8:25 PM @heddahfeddah Yikes. Sorry! Thank god for twitter/internet, yes?

8:25 PM @rojopelo yeah. Bummer.

hartfordjoe 8:28 PM @heddahfeddah They didn’t give me a hard time about leaving which was good.

rojopelo 8:28 PM @heddahfeddah and here I sit watching #community. Seems to be more than enough violence on the CT college campuses these days.

stationstops 8:30 PM Trinity college on lockdown as police negotiate standoff with suicidal armed robber: ( via @heddahfeddah )

brendanmahoney 8:31 PM two ambulances have raced by house over the last 45 minutes. I hope no one is hurt.

8:34 PM @brendanmahoney shots fired may have been related to suicidal nature of suspect… or not. Maybe ambulances are precautionary.

fastlanect 8:35 PM @heddahfeddah “suicide via cop”

8:35 PM @fastlanect ugh.

8:36 PM @gideonstrumpet yes! I’m a fail at student tonight, however.

gideonstrumpet 8:37 PM @heddahfeddah why?

8:44 PM @gideonstrumpet barely paying attention to this video I’m supposed to be watching

8:45 PM Stuck here forever //There is a police helicopter, cool. Summit is blocked off. NBC 30 is here. And a small crowd is forming. (via @mrceder)

gideonstrumpet 8:46 PM @heddahfeddah how can you

pocklock 8:48 PM @heddahfeddah Hey – husband is stuck on the Merritt at exit 50. Related?

Anechoic 8:52 PM @heddahfeddah Nuke it from orbit. It’s the only way to be sure. (yeah I know, I should talk, but it still seems appropriate)

hartfordjoe 8:53 PM @heddahfeddah Summit is closed!? Wow I really did get out just in time.

8:55 PM @pocklock ha, we’re all stuck in one way or another…

8:56 PM @hartfordjoe sigh. Yes. Doesn’t Seabury connect to Mather somehow? Class is over. Roomful of hungry, stuck people.

sighclub 8:56 PM Trinity college lockdown RT @heddahfeddah: Courant reports suspect is suicidal. Shots were fired from the woods about 30 mins ago.

8:58 PM Talking with classmates about how the threat here isn’t from the neighborhood. It’s a guy from North Stonington who paid a visit.

8:59 PM @Anechoic what are you talking about?? Nuke the helicopter??

hartfordjoe 9:00 PM @heddahfeddah I don’t think there is a formal connection between buildings.

rachbarlow 9:01 PM @heddahfeddah at least the bathrooms are pretty sweet in seabury. small comfort, though…

9:03 PM @gideonstrumpet now the professor is letting us browse the news online to find out what’s going on just outside our door

gideonstrumpet 9:04 PM @heddahfeddah oh that’s nice of him

9:04 PM @hartfordjoe how about informal…

9:04 PM @rachbarlow I’ll take small comforts gladly

9:05 PM @gideonstrumpet well, class is over and we’re stuck, so… Yeah.

hartfordjoe 9:05 PM @heddahfeddah If you were able to get into Hamlin, you could find your way into Mather.

Anechoic 9:05 PM @heddahfeddah (Although I will admit I have been watching too much TF 2)

9:07 PM @Anechoic So that’s where you draw your ideas about what you’d do to New York City if you were emperor?

deverywhere 9:14 PM @heddahfeddah I think there is a way! Top floor seabury to cook, go downstairs, through hamlin hall to kitchen in back through to Mather!

9:16 PM Can hear/see standoff in the woods from windows in my building along Summit St.

gideonstrumpet 9:17 PM @heddahfeddah frightening

hartfordjoe 9:18 PM @deverywhere Can you really get to Cook from the top floor of Seabury?

hartfordjoe 9:19 PM @deverywhere Because if so, that is totally golden.

9:20 PM There’s a city police car parked on the Long Walk

mrceder 9:21 PM @heddahfeddah Is it in that small strip of woods inbetween Summit and Zion?

9:22 PM @mrceder yeah. Near where that little street leads down from Summit.

9:24 PM SWAT officers posted all over Summit St. With big guns.

gideonstrumpet 9:25 PM @heddahfeddah Damn. This siht is getting out of control, eh?

mrceder 9:25 PM @heddahfeddah Wow. That’s such a small area, you’d think they could just fish him out of there! Seriously!

mrceder 9:25 PM @heddahfeddah I so wish I could walk up there and watch.

mrceder 9:25 PM @heddahfeddah Wow. That’s such a small area, you’d think they could just fish him out of there! Seriously!

rachbarlow 9:26 PM kudos to the trinity staff that have to handle crises like this

hartfordjoe 9:28 PM @rachbarlow Absolutely! I could never do my boss’ job.

9:28 PM Campus safety telling us to stay where we are. But a janitor I just talked to said I could leave to go over to Mather Hall (food). Hmm

Anechoic 9:29 PM @heddahfeddah well that, the Roman empire, Idi Amin, the great Mesoamerican empires and a few other authoritarian regimes.

9:30 PM @gideonstrumpet hard to tell. Seems intense from the looks of it. Where is the guy?!?!

gideonstrumpet 9:30 PM @heddahfeddah I’d listen to security.

scuttlebuttt 9:32 PM also… what on earth is going on at Trinity… ?

brendanmahoney 9:32 PM @heddahfeddah I’ve got leftover pasta if you want to sneak over here

9:32 PM @mrceder so so seriously

9:32 PM @brendanmahoney I so want to do that

9:33 PM @Anechoic oh okay I was just worried it was all from Alien.

CherylRice 9:34 PM @heddahfeddah is one of the students now in lockdown at Trinity. she’s tweeting updates.

deverywhere 9:35 PM @hartfordjoe I think you can! Next time I’m on campus, I totally want to check it out.

9:36 PM @deverywhere @hartfordjoe I’m not finding it. Not for lack of trying. Might it be in the basement? My classroom in SB is all the way on end.

scuttlebuttt 9:36 PM @hartfordjoe oh. thats all?

scuttlebuttt 9:36 PM @hartfordjoe (barefoot? )

9:37 PM @scuttlebuttt dude. Barefoot

9:37 PM @deverywhere @hartfordjoe indeed now is kind of an ideal time to investigate this, as I am *highly* motivated.

hartfordjoe 9:38 PM @scuttlebuttt Yes barefoot

hartfordjoe 9:38 PM @scuttlebuttt yeah, nothing more than that.

9:41 PM I’m seeing some students walking around on campus in spite of continued lockdown.

gideonstrumpet 9:43 PM @heddahfeddah daredevils

9:46 PM @gideonstrumpet encourged by the janitor, no doubt.

9:49 PM Something happened. All the officers are leaving their posts.

hartfordjoe 9:50 PM @heddahfeddah Perhaps they’ve got the guy?

9:51 PM I think it’s over.

gideonstrumpet 9:51 PM @heddahfeddah Whew. Thank God!

hartfordjoe 9:52 PM @heddahfeddah I hear and see lots of sirens now but I think they are going elsewhere now.

9:52 PM My classmates and I are all attempting to leave the building

paperhurts 9:52 PM @heddahfeddah maybe he’ll just kill himself and save our state budget the money to prosecute and imprison him…

Anechoic 9:53 PM @heddahfeddah well I have been fighting the urge to convert my Meade motorized telescope mount into a sentry gun:

hartfordjoe 9:54 PM @heddahfeddah Good luck with that.

9:55 PM Just walked by a SWAT officer and city cop who are pulling out – seem relaxed now

hartfordjoe 9:55 PM @heddahfeddah Good to hear. Hope all is well up on the hill.

9:56 PM Asked officer if this is over, or resolved in any way. He hesitated and said, “It’s resolved… but they’re still in the woods.”

gideonstrumpet 9:56 PM @heddahfeddah Uh oh. That means they shot him…?

9:57 PM Told me to take Summit St heading away from New Britain Ave. Wonder if they’re looking for a body now, or what.

10:11 PM The dude killed himself in the woods. Very sad.

10:11 PM Made it home safely. Doesn’t sound like anyone else got hurt.

iambunnybee 10:12 PM @heddahfeddah that is sad

scuttlebuttt 10:15 PM @heddahfeddah tragic.

hartfordjoe 10:15 PM @scuttlebuttt @heddahfeddah yes, very sad.

mrceder 10:21 PM @iambunnybee @heddahfeddah Agreed, sad. So young.

10:23 PM Where did the guy who robbed a McDonald’s and shot himself get his gun? Suicide note at his home laid out his intentions.

10:27 PM @heddahfeddah what a story. What he shot himself?

10:30 PM @etswatch yeah.

iambunnybee 10:36 PM @heddahfeddah glad you’re safe and no one else was hurt. Where’d you hear about suicide note?

10:43 PM @iambunnybee email from the college dean of students.

11:30 PM @paperhurts Ever consider becoming a negotiator for crisis situations? You’d have a unique take on it I bet

paperhurts 2:09 AM @heddahfeddah it’s possible; i would want to prevent suicide-by-cop though. if you wanna die, kill yourself i say.

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