An incident on the campus of Urbana University Tuesday afternoon remained under investigation as local law enforcement worked to obtain a warrant to search a dorm.
During a press conference held around 5:30 p.m. at the university student center, Urbana Police Chief Matt Lingrell said police do not have a victim and are attempting to identify any suspects from the incident.
While it was reported police were investigating a possible shots-fired incident earlier in the afternoon, during the press conference Lingrell said he could not specify what the incident involved.
“The reason I can’t go into specifics about what the incident is is because we’re still truly – even though it happened four hours ago now – we’re still in the infancy stages of collecting evidence and talking to all of our witnesses,” Lingrell said. “Until we’re able to muddle through that and get a better grasp of what happened we really don’t have anything further that we can give regarding the investigation itself.”
Lingrell noted police did respond to a call for possible shots fired on campus but said he was not ready to say this is what actually happened in this incident.
Lingrell said on campus everyone was safe but police were still trying to locate individuals involved in the incident so they are not certain if anyone was injured.
Along with Lingrell, Champaign County Prosecutor Kevin Talebi, Urbana University Director of Safety and Security Services Clifton Spinner and Urbana University Executive Director of Community Relations Sherry Mercurio were present at the press conference.
Lingrell said just after 2 p.m. Tuesday, the campus experienced an incident where the assistance of the Urbana Police Division was requested. Police along with the Champaign County Sheriff’s Office responded to the location and began an investigation.
The university was placed on lockdown shortly before police arrived on campus. Mercurio said people on campus were alerted through the One Call Now system which sends out an alert as a text message, email, phone message or all three.
Lingrell said the investigation started as an individual running from campus security, but after arriving on campus police were able to determine an altercation took place inside a campus dorm involving an unspecified number of individuals.
Once officers gained access to this area, Lingrell said the individuals believed to be involved in the incident had fled the area and were no longer on campus.
“We don’t have specific identifications of the suspects involved, however we have talked to many individuals who were either witness to or may have been a victim in this case,” Lingrell said. “We’re continuing to try to locate persons involved in this. We’ve interviewed many different individuals, we are in the process of obtaining a search warrant for a room in the Sycamore dormitory hall just to try to collect evidence that would be involved in this case.”
Lingrell said there are a number of things police need to do as part of their investigation including processing the scene, collecting evidence and continuing interviews at the Urbana Police Division headquarters.
Lingrell said police have requested the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation come to the campus to help them process the area. He added the Champaign County Sheriff’s Office helped cover calls in Urbana as police investigated the incident.
Lingrell stated he appreciated Talebi being available quickly as police worked to draft search warrants for the room in question.
“Something I think is important to mention is how quickly the Urbana University security staff responded to the incident as they were also notifying the student population and also notifying the Urbana Police Division that there was an incident occurring on campus so we could all get together as quickly as we can to try to mediate it and keep the students here as safe as possible,” Lingrell said.
Individuals with potential information about the incident were asked to contact the Urbana Police Division at (937) 652-4350.