[UPDATED] Early morning alerts about threat in Farrand deemed a false alarm


CUPD car outside of Farrand Hall
A CU Police Department vehicle parked outside of Farrand Hall on campus. (Robert Tann/CU Independent)

This story will be updated.

Update 3:30 p.m.: Around 12:15 p.m., CUPD arrested Jack Cameron Taft and will pursue trespassing charges against him.

Alerts about a potential threat in Farrand Hall early this morning have been deemed a false alarm, but the person of interest remains unidentified and students are still shaken by the incident.

At 3:51 a.m. this morning, the CU Police Department sent out an alert on a “serious threat” in Farrand Hall on campus. A second alert at 4:19 a.m. updated that the dorm was “secured; no continuing threat.”

A 911 call from within Farrand saying that someone had a knife had prompted the alert, according to Scott Pribble, spokesperson for CU Police Department. It was unclear the level of threat in the situation, so CUPD and Boulder Police Department were dispatched.

It turned out that the person, whom police don’t believe is a student, was displaying a pocket knife in a non-threatening manner. The person was not identified by police during their time in Farrand. It is legal under state law to carry pocket knives under 3.5 inches.

“We would like to talk to the person and ask why they were in the residence hall,” Pribble said. It is likely that if any charges were to be pressed, they would be on the grounds of trespassing, depending on why the person was there.

By the time the alert was sent out – through email, text and social media outlets – police had already entered the building.

“It takes some time to craft the message and to then get it sent to the right audiences and multiple devices,” Pribble said.

Due to the uncertain severity of the threat, some of the officers entered the dorm carrying long weapons, referring to shotguns or rifles. It’s CUPD policy to issue an alert any time long weapons are drawn in a situation so that those in the surrounding area don’t get startled if they come across the officers.

Many students were asleep during the situation, waking to what was described as “uncomfortable” texts.

Kaitlin Konkel, a freshman living in Farrand, stated her phone was “blowing up” when she woke.

“I was confused at first,” Konkel said. “It is really scary to think [the incident] was going on as I was sleeping.”

Zoe Bensusan and Nina Boyer, both freshmen living in Farrand, said there has been heightened police activity in the area throughout the day.

The students were also confused after an evacuation prompted by what seemed to be a fire alarm happened at approximately 10:15 a.m. Pribble said there was no fire alarm, as no crews were notified of the situation.

“No one knew what to do,” Konkel said. “It was panic on panic.” This was later found to be due to an exploding dryer.

Update 1:35 p.m.: Edited to clarify that the issue with the dryer at Farrand did not result in a fire alarm. CUPD and the Boulder Fire Department receive alerts to respond whenever an alarm is set off. Pribble said that neither office was alerted at the time.

Contact CU Independent Editor-In-Chief Lucy Haggard at lucy.haggard@colorado.edu.

Contact Breaking News Editor Robert Tann at robert.tann@colorado.edu.

Lucy Haggard

Lucy Haggard is in her third year at CU Boulder, born and raised in Colorado. She was the Editor-In-Chief during Fall 2018, working primarily on coverage of Title IX at CU. She helps the CUI cover campus and the local community in the most aesthetically and audibly pleasing ways possible. When not on assignment, she's probably dancing way too early in the morning.

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