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Man held for mental evaluation in Friday's lockdown, gun threat at USF

TAMPA — A man who touched off a lockdown and manhunt Friday at the University of South Florida by telling a crisis center operator that he was carrying a gun on campus was detained early Saturday for mental evaluation, USF police said.

The man agreed to an interview at USF police headquarters and was held under the Baker Act. The law allows people to be taken for mental health examination if they're considered a danger to themselves or others.

Because campus police don't have video surveillance of the man on campus and no witnesses have come forward, the only information they have about the incident is from his call to the crisis center and his interview with police.

Campus police Sgt. Mike Klingebiel wouldn't release information from the interview. He said the investigation is ongoing and charges may be filed after a review by police and a discussion with the State Attorney's Office.

Shortly after noon Friday, a caller told a worker at the Crisis Center of Tampa Bay that he had a gun and wasn't afraid to use it. Before he hung up, he said he was in a parking lot outside USF's Bio-Science Building.

In the two hours that followed, police established perimeters and combed the campus, guns drawn. Students were warned by a text message blast and emergency sirens to stay inside. No gunman was found on campus.

The man agreed to an interview at police headquarters, a meeting Klingebiel said was facilitated by his relatives.

His identity was not released because he was being held on medical issues related to the Baker Act and has not been charged with a crime, USF police said.

Police didn't find a gun, and Klingebiel said he didn't know if the man had actually been armed as he claimed.

While police never found the man on campus, Klingebiel said there is no evidence to refute his statement over the phone that he was on campus. He has never been affiliated with USF, police said.

The man may have been on campus because of a past personal relationship, police added. Klingebiel wouldn't say if it was a romantic relationship or if it had ended badly.

After the interview, the man was transported to the crisis center.

Man held for mental evaluation in Friday's lockdown, gun threat at USF 07/25/09 [Last modified: Saturday, July 25, 2009 8:45pm]
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