FSU Student Ogu Arrested in Response to Shooting Threat
On Wednesday, April 30, 21-year-old Marvin Chijioke Ogu, a Frostburg State University student from Lanham, Maryland, was arrested by the members of the Allegany County Combined Criminal Investigation Unit (C3I) on the charge of Disrupting School Functions. The arrest followed a daylong investigation into threats directed towards Frostburg State University.
FSU campus police were alerted to a threat to the campus made through the anonymous location-based social media app Yik Yak early on April 30th. The posting stated, “At 5:30 tomorrow, I’m going to start shooting.” Shortly after campus police were notified of the threat, C3I was contacted to assist in the investigation.
According to a press release from C3I, investigators were able to contact the web administrators at Yik Yak to obtain the internet provider (IP) address of the device responsible for posting the threats along with the local address of the individual. After obtaining the information, investigators visited the location to speak with the residents, and upon additional investigation, Ogu was identified as the person responsible.
Ogu was taken into custody, and his residence was searched. Investigators discovered no weapons at the location and determined that Ogu had no means of carrying out the threat. In addition, police said Ogu stated to officials that the posting was “made as a joke,” and he had no intention of acting on the threat.
Following the arrest, Ogu was then taken to the Allegany County District Court Commissioner for an initial appearance. At this time, he has been released awaiting further court appearances.
Ogu’s threat spread a panic across the FSU campus for most of the day Wednesday. All members of the campus community (faculty, staff, and students) received an e-mail from FSU Police Chief Cynthia Smith at 10:30 that morning alerting them to the threat. Chief Smith assured the campus community that the threat was not imminent, and that the information was being released “out of an abundance of caution.”
FSU President Dr. Jonathan Gibralter further echoed Chief Smith’s words later in the day with an e-mail stating, “Our police agency and those agencies working in cooperation with us give this particular threat little credibility.”
Gibralter also stated that a consultation between himself, FSU Provost Dr. William Childs, and the SGA president had led to the development of a liberal leave policy for the day. “While we do not want to allow our campus to be held hostage to anonymous, vague threats, if you feel your personal safety is at risk, you are encouraged to exercise your personal judgment about being present on campus for the remainder of the day,” stated Gibralter.
At 5:43 pm, the campus was able to breathe a sigh of relief as another e-mail was sent out from Gibralter stating that the individual responsible for the threat was believed to be in custody. However, the effect of the threat could be witnessed across the campus as many classes and events had been canceled or incurred poor attendance.