âToday, our usually placid Thursday campus routine was interrupted by a frighteningly real threat of violence. Fortunately, our MSU Police, the Division of Student Affairs, and our Crisis Action Team were able to manage this threat and the outcome was that no one was injured, no shots were fired, and no gun was found to have been used by the student making threats against himself and others.
âBut something else happened today. We tested procedures designed to protect all of us through our Crisis Action Team responses. Those responses and protocols worked and worked successfully. And they worked because by and large, our students, faculty and staff knew what to do and knew how to react.
âI have directed the Provost to make sure that our faculty are as lenient as possible with regard to the attendance policies so no one is unjustly penalized with regard to class absences. I have also taken steps to make sure that we offer appropriate counseling to any member of our MSU family who desires such assistance.
âTomorrow, our Crisis Action Team will return to the table to examine what we learned during these tense hours and how we can use that knowledge to make us all even safer tomorrow. But for now, letâs all be thankful for the safe resolution of todayâs unfortunate incident and keep our eyes firmly on our business here at MSU â learning, research, and service.â
By Sid Salter, 601-507-8004
STARKVILLE, Miss.--At a late-morning press conference today, Mississippi State President Mark E. Keenum praised campus and local law enforcement for their âswift responseâ in apprehending a student who made threats to harm himself and others.
âWe take all incidents like this very seriously, and Iâm glad to report that there was no weapon found in this incident and no shots were fired,â Keenum said. âOur campus is safe.â
Keenum commended the MSU Police Department, the Division of Student Affairs, and the universityâs Crisis Action Team for their handling of the tense situation.
âThe highest priority I have as president of this university is the safety of our students, faculty and staff,â said Keenum. âWe are always, always going to err on the side of caution in protecting our most precious resource â our people.â
Law enforcement officials at Mississippi State arrested Phu-Qui Cong âBillâ Nguyen today (Aug. 27) on the Starkville Campus at approximately 10:26 a.m. near the universityâs McCool Hall.
Nguyen will appear in court to face charges of disorderly conduct and has been referred to a medical facility for routine mental and psychological evaluation. Rice said the investigation into the incident by MSU Police was ongoing.
A call came in to MSU Police from the Mississippi Highway Safety Patrol at approximately 10:10 a.m. revealed that a student on the Starkville campus was threatening suicide in addition to threatening to do harm to others.
Keenum said: âThe incident Wednesday morning in Virginia is a reminder that institutions such as ours must be vigilant and be prepared to respond as we did today â swiftly, decisively and without hesitation to protect our students, faculty, and staff.â
Despite the disruption on campus, Keenum said his âthoughts and prayersâ are with all impacted by this incident, including the suspectâs family.
MSU issued a âMaroon Alertâ notice at 10:16 a.m. Nguyen was taken into custody ten minutes later. Chief Vance Rice said MSU Police was grateful to all federal, state and local law enforcement agencies who responded immediately and assisted in arresting the 20-year-old freshman computer engineering student from Madison.
Assisting MSU in the incident were the Oktibbeha County Sheriffâs Office, the Mississippi Highway Safety Patrol, Starkville Police Department, the Miss. Emergency Management Agency, the Miss. Department of Health, and the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
Classes resumed under normal conditions at 2 p.m. Thursday.
MSU Student Association President JoJo Dodd said, âWe are certain now that our Bulldog Family is safe. We are reminded in these times of the commitment we have to each other and this community that we share.â
The Mississippi State University Student Counseling Services are available to support any students who need assistance. The center is open Monday-Friday, 8 a.m.-5 p.m., for walk-in appointments and counselors are on call 24 hours a day. Services can be accessed by calling 662-325-2091.
EDITORâS NOTE: The following is a transcription of the call received by MSU PD from the Mississippi Highway Safety Patrol alerting MSU to the potential active shooter.
Transcription of the phone call from Miss. Highway Patrol to MSU Police:
MHP: Hey, Tina. Quinton Williams. Iâm with the MS Hwy Patrol. You guys are aware you are going to possibly have an active shooter on campus at this time?
MSU: No. I had a suicide call from Jackson saying the guy was suicidal at Carpenter Hall. What was she (the caller) saying to you?
MHP: Well, she was saying the guy was going to actually shoot others as well as himself. Heâs, at this point, in Carpenter Hall.
MSU: Did she say what room?
MHP: She did not say what room that he was in, but they still have her actively on the line as we are speaking now. The subjectâs name is Bill Nguyen. He is going to be an Oriental male. Does that help any?
MSU: MSU to all units, we have a possible active shooter in Carpenter Hall. This is not a test. Vietnamese male. Do not know what floor. Just know heâs a Vietnamese male by the name of Bill. This is not a test.