Suspect apprehended following University of California Berkeley threat that caused confusion and stress for students

Sam Kimball

On the morning of April 21, University of California Berkeley (Cal) students were notified of a schoolwide threat, leading to a shelter-in-place order. According to campus security, students were instructed to avoid the campus premises starting around 10 a.m., and currently, the situation remains unknown to students and staff. Cal junior Carolyn Garner was in class when she learned about the threat and spent over four hours sheltered away in her classroom.

Cal students were instructed to shelter in place following a “credible” threat to campus safety. (Photo courtesy of Getty Images)

“I have a class on campus at 8 a.m., so I was in class when I heard about the shelter-in-place. At first, the class was not too worried as no one knew what was really going on, but when information began to spread and the lights were turned off, the situation became more real, and anxiety filled the room,” Garner said.

Garner, who was in an Anthropology class, quickly took action to help ensure the safety of herself and her classmates once she was notified.

“My class was located on the ground floor so we were concerned that someone could enter,” Garner said. “My friend and I attempted to put a table in front of the door, but unfortunately the doors to the building opened from the outside, so objects would not stop anyone.”

As Garner attempted to assist during the shelter-in-place order, many other students were also in class at the time of the first notification. A Cal senior “Hannah,” who wishes to remain anonymous, was working on a group project for her anatomy class before the police order. 

“We were doing group presentations before a student stopped the class and let the professor know about the threat. There was then a domino effect with many of my classmates confused and concerned,” Hannah said. “I am thankful for the effort of my teacher who continued the class and helped take away the unnecessary agitation as we had no control over the situation.”

In addition to those in class, students off campus took action to ensure their safety and security. Senior Ulysse Richard lives 10 minutes away from the central part of Cal’s campus and reflected on the first moments following the security notification.

Being notified of a schoolwide threat, students receive messages on Cal WarnMe, a security platform focused on safety throughout the campus. (Image courtesy of Ulysse Richard)

“A friend called me saying that she was locked into a building due to the shelter and was panicking. At about 10 a.m., I received an email with the warning, and there was not much information given, as it only said ‘huge campus-wide threat,’ which could have meant anything,” Richard said. “I then turned into the Berkeley police radio to gain more information.”

Redwood graduate and Cal junior Saamya Mungamuru walked to class in the morning prior to 10 a.m., having not received notifications about sheltering in place, but soon realized the severity of the situation.

“Someone in our class said that it was a shooter threat, and that is when I really began to worry. My professor was lecturing like normal, and I was receiving multiple texts from friends about the situation,” Mungamuru said. “Every time someone walked in late to the class all heads turned and looked to the door. Because of everything we have seen in the news, it is frightening to think that [a mass tragic event] could happen to us.”

Following an initial investigation, the University of California Police Department Berkeley (UCPD) apprehended the person in question at an off-campus location and lifted the shelter-in-place order. According to Cal, buildings have reopened but are being secured with extra UCPD officers and locked doors while the UCPD works to investigate the threat.