Terrorist threat shuts down LCC
By Aaron Wilton
Editor in Chief
Lansing Community College officials received an anonymous tip about a potential threat, which resulted in the closure of the east, west and main campuses on Wednesday, Nov. 29 at approximately 1:50 p.m.
The LCC Police Department, along with the DeWitt Township Police Department, determined the threat to be “credible,” so LCC issued a college-wide evacuation alert via RAVE and the public address system at 2:16 p.m.
LCC Director of Police Bill French spoke about the threat received by LCC involving a male subject.
“He told his friend not to go to school and to watch the news at 3 (p.m.),” French explained. “Then he showed (his friend) a video of him loading a weapon — loading magazines with lots of ammunition.
“We knew the person wasn’t on campus at the time. So we thought the best thing to do was to evacuate the campus so if they came down here, there wouldn’t be anybody here.”
A male suspect was arrested off campus by LCC Police and the Eaton County Sheriff‘s Department at 3:01 p.m., French said. He was taken into custody and charged with a false threat of terrorism, which is a felony.
Damian Douglas Walker, 19, an LCC student, was arraigned Thursday, Nov. 30 in Ingham County 54A District Court. Walker pleaded not guilty to the charges. Bail was set at $100,000.
Judge Laura A. Millmore presided over the arraignment. Judge Frank J. Deluca will preside over the eventual trial.
If found guilty, French said, the suspect could serve up to 20 years in jail.
LCC theater major Ian Whipp, 23, was on LCC’s main campus when the order to evacuate was given.
“I hopped off a bus to come here and do some studying,” Whipp said. “Almost immediately an (officer) comes up and he’s like ‘Hey, we’re evacuating, there’s been a threat.’
“So, I just turned around and got right back on the bus. I was a little alarmed, but I didn’t hear any gunshots or explosions.”
Education major Ryleigh McClung, 18, was also involved in the main campus evacuation.
“I wasn’t really scared,” McClung said. “I feel like everyone around me was pretty scared; everybody was moving pretty fast … it kind of made everything back up.”
She added she was parked on the second floor of the Gannon Building ramp and was able to leave in about 15 minutes.
French said he was satisfied with how the evacuation process went.
“I thought it went real well,” he said. “I think that people left in an orderly fashion; I think people were (respectful) of each other getting out.”