WARWICK, R.I. (WPRI) — The Community College of Rhode Island’s Knight Campus in Warwick was evacuated Wednesday morning after a spent shell casing was found in a hallway.
The campus was reopened after police gave the all-clear, and classes resumed at 2 p.m.
The call to evacuate was made out of an abundance of caution, according to CCRI President Meghan Hughes, and there was never an active threat.
“The safety of our students, faculty and staff are our number-one priority,” she said during a news conference late Wednesday morning. “In light of the tragedy yesterday at UNC Charlotte, we made the decision to evacuate our campus.”
Hughes said the casing was discovered around 7 a.m. outside an elevator on the sixth floor of the main building. Campus authorities and Warwick police were notified and everyone was directed to evacuate.
Police conducted a sweep of the main building and field house and found no weapons or additional shell casings.
“It took some time to do a complete and thorough search of the building and the field house,” Collins said. “However, the search – particularly with the firearms detection dogs – we were unable to find anything and the scene is now deemed safe.”
Approximately 7,000 students and staff members are at the Knight Campus on a typical weekday, officials said. They were notified of the evacuation in an announcement over the intercom, as well as via email and text message.”[The message] popped up on my computer as well as an announcement to evacuate the building, so we evacuated the building,” CCRI employee Jim Salisbury said. “We were outside about five or six minutes and then the notice came out to evacuate the campus.””They asked everyone to get off the premises. They’re not telling us anything, they just asked us to get away from the building,” CCRI teacher Norm Grant told Eyewitness News.
R.I. State Police also responded to campus to assist with the investigation, and Warwick Mayor Joseph Solomon was there as well.
After the evacuation order was issued, a stream of cars could be seen leaving the campus.
“It just said clear the building and then there were announcements over the building but no one is giving an idea of what is going on,” CCRI employee Lynn Gudeczauskas said. “We’re just waiting for traffic to die down.”
The evacuation was limited to the Knight Campus. This is CCRI’s last week of classes before finals begin.
RIPTA diverted several routes during the evacuation but service has since resumed as normal.