Disclaimer: All persons are presumed innocent until proven guilty.
UPDATE: The New Orleans Police has identified the person responsible as 22-year-old Karam Mohammed Alhatel.
Alhatel was taken into custody by the Jefferson Parish Sherriff’s Office after making threats against the University of New Orleans. He was later transferred to the Orleans Justice Center and booked with terrorizing, stalking, and unlawful disruption of the operation of a school.
Superintendent Shaun Ferguson released a statement:
“Keeping our community safe is our number one priority. The swift actions of our law enforcement partners and the community working together prevented what could have been a tragic event.”
The incident remains under investigation.
Anyone with information about this incident is urged to contact NOPD at (504) 821-2222 or Crimestoppers at (504) 822-1111 or toll free at 1-877-903-7867.
NEW ORLEANS (WGNO) — A threat by a former University of New Orleans student over the weekend canceled classes and shut down the campus, school officials announced on Monday (Nov. 21).
In a letter from UNO President Dr. John Nicklow, students and staff were alerted that the student, identified as 22-year-old Karam Mohammed Alhatel, reportedly entered a classroom and acted “in an erratic and disruptive manner” — so much so that it was reported to campus police.
We’re told this led to a discovery of a video posted on Friday by the former student on social media that shows him purchasing an assault-style rifle at an area gun store. Photos of the suspect brandishing the gun were also found on his social media accounts.
The discovery of the social media posts led to multi-agency surveillance of the suspect by the New Orleans Police Department, U.S. Marshals Task Force, and Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s Office. An arrest warrant was secured on charges of Terrorizing, Stalking, and Unlawful Disruption of the Operation of a School.
“The suspect is in custody and no longer poses a potential threat to the UNO community or the larger community,” Dr. Nicklow added. The suspect’s identity has not been released.
Classes are canceled on Monday and campus will remain closed until Tuesday, November 22. Read the full letter from campus leaders below.
Full letter: UNO President says campus shut down due to threat by former student
“Dear Campus Community,
I want to provide you with more details on the reason for today’s campus closure. Last week, a former student entered a classroom and acted in an erratic and disruptive manner. Once this was reported to the UNO Department of Public Safety, our officers responded immediately and began an investigation into the individual, which led to a confirmation of suspicious activity. Our officers discovered a video posted Friday on one of the suspect’s social media accounts, showing him purchasing an assault style rifle at a gun store. Additional photographs of him brandishing the firearm were posted across the suspect’s social media accounts. It was at this point that multi-agency surveillance of the suspect began and continued throughout the weekend. The suspect’s off-campus location was continuously monitored, and thus no imminent threat to campus existed. We were not able to share this information with you until now because it would have compromised the investigation.
The UNO Department of Public Safety worked closely with the New Orleans Police Department’s Intelligence Division, Violent Offender Warrant Squad (VOWS) and the 3rd Police District to secure arrest warrants for Terrorizing, Stalking and Unlawful Disruption of the Operation of a School. The New Orleans Police Department’s Intelligence Division and U.S. Marshals Task Force conducted a joint operation during the overnight hours with the Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s Office, which arrested the suspect without incident. The suspect is in custody and no longer poses a potential threat to the UNO community or the larger community.
We appreciate the support that we received from our law enforcement partners. We are also grateful to the brave members of our university community who assisted in our investigation. Your help was instrumental in making sure the suspect was apprehended.
As a reminder, if you ever see or hear anything suspicious on campus, please immediately contact the UNO Department of Public Safety at (504) 280-6666, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. If an imminent threat ever exists, we will activate our emergency alert protocols. If you have not already done so, take this opportunity to register for Privateer Alerts, our emergency text notification system. If you sign into https://myapps.uno.edu with your UNO email and password, you will see a tile marked “Privateer Alerts.” Click on the tile and enter your information. I also encourage you to download the Rave Guardian App from either the App Store or Google Play. Once you’ve downloaded the app, select “University of New Orleans.” It turns your cell phone into a personal safety device, and you can report an emergency with the tap of a button.
Classes are still canceled today (November 21) and campus remains closed. Classes and normal university operations will resume tomorrow (November 22). Faculty, in consultation with the deans and Academic Affairs, will provide options to make up today’s classes.
Our community is stronger together and when we look out for each other. Thank you for your vigilance and cooperation.”