Mounties say the public was never at risk during Tuesday’s gun scare at Simon Fraser University’s Burnaby campus.
It’s for that reason neither the university nor the Burnaby RCMP released any information about the incident until two hours after it began, Cpl. Daniela Panesar told Black Press Media in a statement Wednesday.
“We would like for the public to know that there was a large and immediate response to yesterday’s call and police quickly had the scene contained,” Panesar said.
“Officers on scene immediately engaged with SFU security in locating the suspect.”
The incident began around 2 p.m., when a large amount of RCMP descended on campus. They found and arrested a 19-year-old man wearing a RCMP logo ball cap, and found a replica gun in a bag that allegedly belonged to the man.
Parmar said that although police always consider warning the public, they were concerned Tuesday that people may have confused a man in an RCMP ball cap with actual Mounties, some of whom were plain clothes officers and could have looked similar to the 19-year-old.
That could lead to a “considerable concern for police officer safety,” she noted.
During the incident and into the evening, multiple students took to social media to ask why no one told them there was a gun scare.
“Anyone know what’s happening with police and kicking people out of the dorms?” asked Reddit user hijulyy.
“SFU Security drops the ball again with keeping students informed and keeping safety at the forefront,” user SergeantP posted.
“@SFU there’s about 20 police cars and low flying helicopters at Burnaby campus. Apparently a gun threat??? Maybe you guys could shed some light as to what is going on,” Tayla Jae Jackson asked on Twitter.
@SFU there’s about 20 police cars and low flying helicopters at Burnaby campus. Apparently a gun threat??? Maybe you guys could shed some light as to what is going on.
— tayla jae jackson (@taylajae1) October 8, 2019
hey @SFU are we safe here?? there's a gunmen on campus and you thought not to tell any of your students?
— kirsten (@kirs10yuen) October 8, 2019
In an email sent to students Wednesday night, SFU said student safety is their priority.
“We try to share information as it is confirmed, and when and where it is appropriate and safe to do so. When a campus wide notification is needed I want to assure you that we have notification systems in place, but it is also important to note that it is not always safe to send out an alert as a situation is in progress.”
The university did not send out any alerts, or post information to social media, until later Wednesday evening.