When Penn State-Beaver students saw someone threaten their campus with a reference to the 2007 mass shootings at Virginia Tech and called police, they "did exactly what we want them to do when they see something like this," Chancellor Gary Keefer said today.
The campus near Monaca was shut down this morning as police continued a search for former student Michael Mollett, a graduate of Westinghouse High School in Homewood.
"We're erring on the side of caution," Keefer said at a press conference this morning.
Police were alerted to the threat at 6:30 p.m. yesterday. After examining the post on social media website Twitter, police determined that the threat was credible and began searching the campus and surrounding area for Mollett, who is wanted on a bench warrant issued by Allegheny County Common Pleas Judge Jeffrey A. Manning in connection with charges of receiving stolen property, fleeing a police officer, reckless driving and other counts, according to court records.
Mollett wasn't found, Keefer said.
On Sept. 26, campus police charged Mollett with indecent assault and defiant trespass, according to court records, an incident that led to his departure from the school, Keefer said. Mollett hasn't been on campus for several weeks, he added.
Mollett was a guard on the university's basketball team last year, according to the school's website.
On April 16, 2007, a Virginia Tech student named Seung-Hui Cho shot and killed 32 people before taking his own life in one of the worst mass shootings in U.S. history.
About 870 students are enrolled at the campus, one of more than a dozen satellite campuses the university has in the state. About 200 of them live in on-campus housing, and Keefer said they have been asked to go home for the weekend, if possible.
Campus police, Center police, FBI agents and Beaver County detectives are still searching for Mollett, Keefer said.
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