Public Safety issued an all clear Friday afternoon following a late-morning alert that advised anyone on the Minneapolis campus to seek shelter after reports of shots fired at a nearby office building that houses Target Corp. offices.
Two Target employees, who asked not to be identified, look from a St. Thomas skyway toward the building where someone reported hearing shots Friday. Police said they found no evidence of a shooting. (Alex Goering/TommieMedia)
After searching the building for more than two hours, Minneapolis police could not find evidence of a shooting. Authorities said an initial caller heard a popping sound, and police later speculated it might have come from ductwork.
Public Safety alerted St. Thomas students through emails and text messages.
Senior Jon Nelson said he received the first Public Safety text message during class.
“My professor proceeded to let us know after class to avoid going to Minneapolis campus,” Nelson said. “It’s unfortunate and people might miss class and all that but it’s obviously for a much more important cause. We have our priorities straight.”
Sophomore Kelsey Von Eschen said she was on her way to her internship in the Target Corp. offices when she learned about the situation.
“I was on the bus heading into work today, and my boss called me asking where I was because I was a little bit late,” Von Eschen said. “She just said when you get to St. Thomas stay in the Minneapolis campus and just don’t walk across the street because (Target Corp.) were in lockdown.”
Von Eschen said she was lucky to have been running late.
“I was so scared when I first got down here. Actually I was like really shaky. I sit in my office sometimes by myself without any of my bosses or co-workers there. I’m just glad I wasn’t there today,” Von Eschen said.
Eventually, shuttle service stopped between the St. Paul and Minneapolis campuses. Senior Zach Caruson said suspended service prevented him from getting to work.
“I just work at IRT at the Scholars Tech desk, I was just about to head down for a little work, and I couldn’t get down because the buses weren’t running,” Caruson said.
Junior Emma Notermann said she works on the Minneapolis campus and had been waiting for the St. Thomas shuttle for more than an hour before the services resumed.
“I understand that they didn’t want to be bringing people into harm’s way because we were so close, but at the same time, they could have maybe sent one to pick people up who were already in harm’s way,” Notermann said.
A flagship Target store is immediately across the street from where the shots were reported.
Nelson said he was able to communicate with his cousin, who works at that Target store, but is still worried.
“He said he’s at work, he’s fine but the building is on lockdown right now and there’s SWAT everywhere,” Nelson said. “I asked him to keep me updated and let me know what’s happening, and what’s going on because I’m obviously concerned.”
In its final alert, Public Safety said it will continue to provide update and campus services have resumed.