POCATELLO — The report of a man carrying a rifle case on the Idaho State University campus Monday brought Pocatello police to the scene and spurred release of a false active-shooter alert, leaving many members of the university community to believe that an active shooter was at large.
Shortly before 2 p.m. Monday, the university’s Department of Public Safety received a credible report that an unidentified male was carrying what appeared to be a gun case on the north side of Frazier Hall. Pocatello police were also notified.
An alert message that was sent to members of the campus community through e-mail and text stated “ISU Alert: Public Safety has received a report of a person seen carrying a gun case on the north side of Frazier Hall on Monday February 27th. Be prepared to run, hide, fight.”
Kyle Mauck of Pocatello took that same route on his way to the Student Union building about the same time that the report came in. Mauck was carrying a long, red nylon bag with a shoulder strap that contained two pool cues.
Mauck said it took him only a few seconds to figure out that he was the suspect reported to Public Safety on Monday.
Mauck and wife Breanna live in the area of South Sixth Avenue and Carter Street. And he shoots pool at the Pond Student Union building about four days a week.
“It’s close to my house and it’s cheap,” Kyle said. “I love to play and there are a few players there who are really serious about the game.”
A friend planned to meet Kyle and Breanna in the Student Union building Monday. Kyle said that’s where he was when that friend forwarded the ISU alert message to him.
“We were walking through there about the same time and there was no one else around, we were the only people carrying anything,” Kyle said. “I immediately went to the cops and said, ‘Hey, I think that’s me.’”
Pocatello police interviewed Kyle, took photographs of what he was wearing and his cue bag, and then reviewed surveillance video.
Pocatello Police Lt. Ian Nelson said Tuesday that investigators determined that Kyle was indeed the person reported to have the alleged gun case.
Nelson said police concluded that there was no active-shooter threat on the ISU campus and the case is now closed.
Kyle said he’s owned and carried the nylon cue case for the past four months and the incident on the ISU campus Monday was a first.
“I’m thinking about buying another hard (cue) case,” Kyle said.
The school was not put on lockdown during the incident.
However, the emergency notification that was posted at the top of ISU’s website, isu.edu, mistakenly included the words “ACTIVE SHOOTER” in capital letters in the headline. This made many people on campus believe that an actual shooter situation was occurring on campus.
ISU Director of Public Safety Lewis Eakins said Monday that the inaccurate active-shooter header on the website was caused by a computer glitch that has since been repaired.
This is the second false report of an active shooter at ISU this school year. Last September, two buildings on ISU’s campus almost went into lockdown because of fears that an active-shooter training exercise at the nearby Portneuf Medical Center was a real incident.