Gunman enters dorm Wednesday night
An unidentified man entered Apache-Santa Cruz Residence Hall with a loaded semi-automatic pistol Wednesday night. The man left without further incident, police said.
Witnesses said the man appeared to be intoxicated as he entered the dorm, 1420 E. Fifth St., at about 10:13 p.m. and first asked where the bathroom was and then for a man named "Billy."
"I came in behind the guy," said Aaron Stannard, a biology freshman who lives at the residence hall. "A couple of people in front of me were holding the door for someone and he walked in. That was when I noticed the gun in the back of his pants."
Stannard said the man, who he and other witnesses described as about 6 foot 4 inches tall, 240 pounds and possibly Hispanic - was loading ammunition into a clip as he entered the hall, then turned and politely asked him how to get to the restroom.
When the man went to the restroom, Stannard said he went down the hall to make sure people had their doors closed and locked and he went to his room and called university police.
"I don't think anyone really knew he had a gun at first," Stannard said. "So everyone was pretty calm. But when the police came down, people got pretty frantic."
According to the police report, the man continued his search for "Billy," who neither police nor residents at the hall can identify, on the second floor. Witnesses also remarked that the man smelled like alcohol, the report stated.
One student remarked that "he was really big. Bigger than a wall. And he had a gun."
But the tense situation came to an end just as soon as it began.
Before police arrived, and before the gunman located the mysterious "Billy," Stannard and other witnesses saw him leave the building, walk to a 1988 or 1989 Ford pickup and drive east on East Sixth Street.
In an interview with residents conducted after the man left, a woman gave police a lead, telling an officer the man was her roommate's boyfriend.
She said in the police report that the man was drunk and she thinks his name is Eric.
But the woman hadn't seen her roommate since 4 p.m., doesn't know the boyfriend's last name and has no idea where he lives.
UAPD detective Rolf Averill said he is investigating the incident, but doesn't think the man will return to Apache-Santa Cruz.
"We don't know who he is right now, but there is no evidence to show at this time he will come back with a gun," Averill said. "I am looking into the situation right now, but I think it is a unique one and he won't be back."