UPDATE: After roughly 90 minutes of tension, KAIT-TV in Jonesboro reported shortly before 3 p.m. that an armed man that put the Arkansas State University campus in lockdown had been taken into custody. There have no reports of shots fired. A bomb squad will check the man’s truck, which police surrounded shortly after he drove onto the center of campus and was seen holding what appeared to be a shotgun. The sheriff said no shots were fired and no one was hurt. The name of the man identified in the incident matches that of former ASU student injured while in driver training in Newport who has complained on Facebook about difficulties with a Social Security claim.
He’s been identified by the Jonesboro Sun as a 47-year-old Jonesboro man, Brad Kenneth Bartelt. A man by that name has a Facebook page that includes a post with a grievance about ASU-Newport and a reference to what appears to be a Social Security disability claim. The person who uses this Facebook pages described himself as suicidal and homicidal in a post written Wednesday. He also shares many political messages on Facebook, including a wish that people would say Merry Christmas instead of Happy Holidays.
A news story from 2012 reports on a student at ASU-Newport, Brad Kenneth Bartelt, who was in commercial driver training. He was seriously injured by a truck driven by another student. This accident is mentioned in the Brad Bartelt Facebook post.
This is what we reported earlier:
The official Arkansas State University Twitter account at 1:35 p.m. posted this message:
Report of an active shooter spotted at the student union. Everyone should evacuate to the west side of the building and clear the area.
ASU tweeted an update at 1:48 p.m. saying the shooter has been surrounded and that there are no reported injuries thus far:
The individual with a weapon has been surrounded by police. No shots have been fired, no reported injuries.
The Jonesboro Sun says the suspect is in a green truck on the student union lawn. At 2:02, the Sun provides this from the Jonesboro chief of police:
JPD chief: “Shooter armed with shotgun in the back with two propane tanks ready to blow.”
(I’ve changed the headline of this post to describe a “gunman” rather than a “shooter.” The original tweet from ASU said an “active shooter” had been spotted, but it’s now sounding like no shots were fired.)
Messages are pouring in on Twitter and other social media. Dispatches from campus report that no one has been shot and the person with the gun has talked of harming himself, though not necessarily others. A SWAT unit has been dispatched.
The man was surrounded after driving onto campus in a pickup and a campus spokesman said at 2:30 he was still in the truck. The fact that there are propane tanks in the truck has also been cause for comment.
The Facebook page below: