Business returned to normal Wednesday on the University of Wisconsin campus after three buildings were locked down Tuesday evening.
As of Wednesday evening, police still had not found Jesse A. Miller, 19, who allegedly called a Dane County Crisis Line and area 911 dispatch Tuesday saying he wished to kill himself or be killed by police.
Without any ties to the campus or university, UW Police Department Sgt. Ben Newman said investigators do not believe Miller is in the immediate campus area.
“We don’t feel he was a threat to the campus community at large,” Newman said. “Information reveals he was never even on campus, at this point."
After indications that Miller could be on the west part of campus and armed with a gun, the university locked down the UW Hospital, Natatorium and Memorial Union Tuesday evening.
Later that night, UW officials said Miller was a threat to himself and not to others in the area. The university held classes as usual Wednesday.
In a rare sit-down interview Wednesday, UW System President Kevin Reilly praised the efforts of university officials, saying they met his expectations of how to handle such an event.
Since the shootings at Virginia Tech last spring, Reilly said all UW campuses have been involved in information sharing and refining the best crisis prevention and reaction plans.
“I think one of the things we’ve all learned a bit about from the Virginia Tech incident was the importance of timely communication,” Reilly told The Badger Herald. “Even when you don’t know much, you want to communicate what you do know in a way that doesn’t promote panic or unnecessarily stir people.”
UWPD Capt. Johnnie Diamante sent three campus-wide e-mails at 6:06, 8:20 and 11:24 Tuesday night with continual web postings throughout the night.
Newman said the investigation is ongoing from here, and while authorities are still working on the case, there are no more active building searches for Miller.
Within one hour Tuesday night, Newman said UWPD received notification that Miller might be armed at a parking ramp near the UW Hospital, that shots had been fired and that there was a bomb threat in the area.
The fast-paced events caused UWPD to act quickly, Newman added.
“It’s not that we believe he was a threat,” he said. “We didn’t know what was happening — this unfolded rather quickly.”
Newman said the threat was “not even on the same scale” as the one at Virginia Tech.
Overall, Reilly said the response Tuesday was “appropriate.”
“You can never absolutely guarantee that you can prevent one of these kinds of things from happening,” Reilly said. “But you try to take steps to make them less likely and then, God forbid something like it should happen, be able to react quickly and effectively to whatever did happen.”