Montana State University police are not releasing the name of a man accused of making threats that prompted the lockdown of the campus Thursday, but said he is undergoing a mental health evaluation.

In a university news release Friday, police said the MSU staff member was not arrested and no charges have been filed in connection to the threats. The man was not a professor.

Frank Parrish, MSU police chief, said officers found a loaded shotgun and a hunting rifle in the man’s home. Parrish said the suspect was cooperative after being detained on campus and consented to a search of both his home and car.

The release said officers found no evidence the man was planning any criminal activity, although law enforcement said Thursday he had made threats to “end it all” in statements to family members and on social media. The man was about to be fired from his job at the university Thursday.

Parrish said in the release that nearly all active-shooter situations involve the suspect saying something to a family member or through social media. That’s why Parrish ordered the campus lockdown from noon to about 2 p.m., Thursday.

Waded Cruzado, MSU president, shared a letter on social media Friday morning, and said we live in different times and episodes like Thursday’s can disrupt routines. Thankfully, she said, everybody was safe.

“We now have an opportunity to think and share recommendations about what else do we need to do to continue to strengthen our safety systems,” Cruzado wrote.

Cruzado thanked law enforcement, students, parents and neighbors in the letter, and wrote that the university’s emergency systems worked as planned. She said this was a good time to reflect on the people at the university.

“Thanks to you, Montana State University is a better and stronger institution this morning,” Cruzado said.

Brett Gunnink, MSU engineer college dean, said he was inside the Norm Asbjornson Hall, where law enforcement found the man, when the lockdown was ordered. Gunnink said he and staff quickly gathered people who were in the center of the building into offices.

He said there were about 50 to 60 people split between the honor’s college office and the engineering dean’s office. Gunnink said people were calm, but concerned, and waited patiently until they were notified the threat had been contained.

“We’re all very pleased that this was just a person of concern who didn’t actually do anything,” Gunnink said.

The lockdown was lifted after the man was detained. Law enforcement then took him to the Gallatin County jail for questioning.

Freddy Monares can be reached at or 406-582-2630. Follow him on Twitter @TGIFreddy.


Freddy Monares covers politics and county government for the Bozeman Daily Chronicle.

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