An investigation into a threatening note found on the Southern Oregon University campus in the week after the shootings at Umpqua Community College has turned up no promising leads and has been “inactivated” pending further evidence, says Ashland police Chief Tighe O’Meara.
The Oct. 6 threat, whose details have not been released, came just days after the shooting of nine people at Umpqua Community College on Oct. 1 and a bomb threat Oct. 5 that closed Rogue Community College's three campuses.
The threatening note at SOU did refer to the mass shooting at UCC, says O’Meara, and “was a pretty clear threat to the university. We would have been pretty negligent if we didn’t jump right on it and that’s what we did.”
Ashland police, SOU Campus Security and the FBI joined in the investigation here, doing several interviews and some polygraphs with anyone connected with the event, says O’Meara, but turned up no solid leads. The university was closed for one day, while authorities combed the campus.
“We have no findings on it whatsoever and no idea who wrote it,” says Fred Creek, SOU Director of Public Safety. Staff is continuing with its training on threats of this nature, he adds, noting that the case is still open, but in the “suspended” file.
O’Meara says, “There really is nothing left for us to do with it unless clear evidence arises. A clear suspect has not emerged. ... The people we interviewed are definitely not suspects.”
The note was found in a bathroom of the Education-Psychology building on South Mountain Avenue near Siskiyou Boulevard at 7:39 p.m. The campus did not evacuate but was locked down Oct. 7 for the search.
Creek last week attended an “active shooter conference” with the FBI at Oregon State University, going over the lessons learned from the UCC massacre. The FBI training, he notes, touches on command structure “so it goes seamlessly from level to level,” on family reunification after a shooting, and on getting information out to the social media and press.
“I’ve been teaching this information for a long time,” Creek says. “It’s about 'hide out, get out or take out.' These are the cornerstones of survival.”
John Darling is an Ashland freelance writer. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.