Investigation continues after 2 security scares at D.C. university

WASHINGTON — The man who sparked a second lockdown within a 24-hour period at the Catholic University of America was a member of the campus community, police have determined, and officials continue to investigate threats made that triggered the initial lockdown.

The FBI’s Joint Terrorism Task Force has joined the investigation and campus officials have ordered increased surveillance since a university custodial employee encountered a gunman who made terroristic threats Monday night.

Tuesday night, a D.C. police officer on patrol — part of the heightened surveillance efforts — spotted a young man that resembled the gunman’s description from the night before. The man was interrogated and his car searched before police determined he is a member of the Catholic University community “and had every right to be on campus,” according to a Facebook post from the school’s emergency council.

Students and staff were ordered to shelter in place beginning about 8 p.m., and the university library was evacuated because police believed that the man could have been inside the building.

The first order to shelter in place came about 1:15 a.m. Tuesday. Each lockdown lasted approximately two hours.

The successive security scares prompted university officials to delay the start of classes Wednesday on the Northeast D.C. campus.

Counseling services and ministry support are being offered to students, who were also asked to immediately report anything unusual to campus public safety staff.

“As we begin to move forward as a community after the events of the last two days, we want to reassure you that every step is being taken to make the campus as safe as possible,” the Facebook post said.

D.C. police are also investigating the Monday night encounter and will continue to patrol the campus.

WTOP’s Dick Uliano contributed to this report.

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