Student heard ‘rapid gunshots’ before Longwood University lockdown; ‘person of interest’ in custody

Posted at 10:22 PM, Jan 12, 2020
and last updated 2020-01-13 00:03:39-05

FARMVILLE, Va. -- A "person of interest" is in custody after shots fired off-campus prompted a lockdown for more than an hour at Longwood University in Farmville Sunday night.

The university sent an email alert about a report of a person with a gun on campus at 9:38 p.m., according to the school's student newspaper, the Longwood Rotunda.

Officials urged anyone on campus to "go inside to a locked and secure location."

Longwood University student Kate Creech said she heard a series of "rapid gunshots" at 9:12 p.m. not far from the Farmville McDonald's.

"They sounded very, very close," Creech said. "At 9:38 the university sent out the first warning email as well as sounding the emergency alarm."

Officials later said police were investigating reports of shots fired off campus.

As of 10:14 p.m., officials advised anyone on campus to "stay inside" until the lockdown was lifted at 11:10 p.m.

Campus officials said Farmville and Longwood University Police were called to a report of gunshots near the intersection of Putney and Main streets.

When police arrived, the suspects had already fled, officials said.

As a result, Longwood Police urged anyone on campus to stay inside in a secure location until police could make sure the grounds were safe.

Accordingly, officers performed a security check on all campus buildings and grounds, university officials said.

Farmville Police detained a "person of interest" and recovered a weapon, university officials said.

No injuries were reported.

The university's spring semester begins Tuesday, Jan. 14.

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