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UC Irvine police checking reports of man with rifle on campus [Updated]

May 20, 2009 |  3:02 pm

A student shows a text message that was sent to UCI students cell phones after a report that someone was seen on campus with a rifle. UC Irvine police are looking into reports of a person with a rifle on campus, officials said.

Police received a phone call about 1:30 p.m. reporting a suspicious person carrying a weapon near Mesa Drive going toward campus, said Marla Purcell, the UCI Police Department's administrative manager.

Police are trying to figure out if the report is valid. The campus is not on lockdown.

 “We're still checking," she said. "We're not saying that it's not possible that there's not someone on campus, but we're still trying to find out.”

—Tony Barboza

[Updated, 3:29 p.m. Campus police have detained a man they believe may be the person who sparked reports of a person in camouflage clothing carrying a rifle near the school’s student housing. The man taken into custody did not have a weapon but is known to collect or have replica guns, said Paul Henisey of the campus Police Department. He said officers are trying to determine whether the man is the same person who initially was reported to police.

Students were alerted to the situation through a text-messaging system known as ZotAlert. Only students who signed up for the alert would have received the message. The message read: "At 1:26 p.m. today, it was reported that a suspicious individual carrying a possible rifle was seen walking south from Mesa Drive toward the campus. Subject was described as a white male, 6 feet tall, 180 lbs, with blond hair and wearing a beige camouflage outfit and desert type boots. Call 911 immediately if subject is seen."]

-- Paloma Esquivel

Photo: A text message was sent to UC Irvine students alterting them of a report that someone was seen on campus with a rifle.

Credit: Don Bartletti / Los Angeles Times