By Sid Salter, 601-507-8004
STARKVILLE, Miss.--At a late-morning press conference today, Mississippi State President Mark E. Keenum praised campus and local law enforcement for their ‚Äúswift response‚ÄĚ in apprehending a student who made threats to harm himself and others.
‚ÄúWe take all incidents like this very seriously, and I‚Äôm glad to report that there was no weapon found in this incident and no shots were fired,‚ÄĚ Keenum said. ‚ÄúOur campus is safe.‚ÄĚ
Keenum commended the MSU Police Department, the Division of Student Affairs, and the university‚Äôs Crisis Action Team for their handling of the tense situation.
‚ÄúThe highest priority I have as president of this university is the safety of our students, faculty and staff,‚ÄĚ said Keenum. ‚ÄúWe are always, always going to err on the side of caution in protecting our most precious resource ‚Äď our people.‚ÄĚ
Law enforcement officials at Mississippi State arrested Phu-Qui Cong ‚ÄúBill‚ÄĚ Nguyen today (Aug. 27) on the Starkville Campus at approximately 10:26 a.m. near the university‚Äôs McCool Hall.
Nguyen will appear in court to face charges of disorderly conduct and has been referred to a medical facility for routine mental and psychological evaluation. Rice said the investigation into the incident by MSU Police was ongoing.
A call came in to MSU Police from the Mississippi Highway Safety Patrol at approximately 10:10 a.m. revealed that a student on the Starkville campus was threatening suicide in addition to threatening to do harm to others.
Keenum said: ‚ÄúThe incident Wednesday morning in Virginia is a reminder that institutions such as ours must be vigilant and be prepared to respond as we did today ‚Äď swiftly, decisively and without hesitation to protect our students, faculty, and staff.‚ÄĚ
Despite the disruption on campus, Keenum said his ‚Äúthoughts and prayers‚ÄĚ are with all impacted by this incident, including the suspect‚Äôs family.
MSU issued a ‚ÄúMaroon Alert‚ÄĚ notice at 10:16 a.m. Nguyen was taken into custody ten minutes later. Chief Vance Rice said MSU Police was grateful to all federal, state and local law enforcement agencies who responded immediately and assisted in arresting the 20-year-old freshman computer engineering student from Madison.
Assisting MSU in the incident were the Oktibbeha County Sheriff‚Äôs Office, the Mississippi Highway Safety Patrol, Starkville Police Department, the Miss. Emergency Management Agency, the Miss. Department of Health, and the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
Classes resumed under normal conditions at 2 p.m. Thursday.
MSU Student Association President JoJo Dodd said, ‚ÄúWe are certain now that our Bulldog Family is safe. We are reminded in these times of the commitment we have to each other and this community that we share.‚ÄĚ
The Mississippi State University Student Counseling Services are available to support any students who need assistance. The center is open Monday-Friday, 8 a.m.-5 p.m., for walk-in appointments and counselors are on call 24 hours a day. Services can be accessed by calling 662-325-2091.
EDITOR‚ÄôS NOTE: The following is a transcription of the call received by MSU PD from the Mississippi Highway Safety Patrol alerting MSU to the potential active shooter.
Transcription of the phone call from Miss. Highway Patrol to MSU Police:
MHP: Hey, Tina. Quinton Williams. I‚Äôm with the MS Hwy Patrol. You guys are aware you are going to possibly have an active shooter on campus at this time?
MSU: No. I had a suicide call from Jackson saying the guy was suicidal at Carpenter Hall. What was she (the caller) saying to you?
MHP: Well, she was saying the guy was going to actually shoot others as well as himself. He‚Äôs, at this point, in Carpenter Hall.
MSU: Did she say what room?
MHP: She did not say what room that he was in, but they still have her actively on the line as we are speaking now. The subject‚Äôs name is Bill Nguyen. He is going to be an Oriental male. Does that help any?
MSU: MSU to all units, we have a possible active shooter in Carpenter Hall. This is not a test. Vietnamese male. Do not know what floor. Just know he‚Äôs a Vietnamese male by the name of Bill. This is not a test.