An armed USM student has barricaded himself inside the Sigma Nu fraternity house at 24 School st. and threatened to hurt himself, authorities say. All other students have been removed from the building.
The student, whose name is not being released, was intoxicated when he entered the house and was belligerent toward other fraternity brothers. They left the house immediately. The incident was reported to police shortly before 8 p.m., according to Executive Director of Public Affairs at USM, Bob Caswell.
“Gorham police responded, and they’re in charge of the scene and trying to resolve this peacefully,” said Caswell. “I don’t know what progress has been made, but the situation is under control, if such a situation can be.”
SWAT vehicles arrived on scene around 9:55 p.m. All pedestrians and media have been removed from the area. Gorham Village has been completely shut down, and no traffic is being allowed to pass through the town square.
According to Caswell, staff members have been going through public buildings and residence halls and are urging students to stay in their respective residence halls and not to go outside.
A USM shuttle bus returning from Portland was forced to take an alternative route to the Gorham campus due to numerous police cruisers parked on School Street.
Law enforcement on the scene include Cumberland County officers, USM Public Safety, Gorham Police Department and Gorham Fire Dept.
Just this morning, Caswell spoke with Portland-based news source WMTW 8 regarding active shooters on campus.
“Given what happened at Purdue [University] yesterday and other recent shootings, they wanted to just ask me about our basic communication [structures] and procedures that we have in place,” he said. “They were asking me, ‘Have you ever had a situation with an active shooter?’ and I said, ‘No, thank God. Let’s hope it stays that way.” He commented that it was a strange coincidence. “Just goes to show that nobody’s immune from this kind of thing.”
“Five hours later, and here we are,” said Caswell.
Around 9:45 p.m., USM issued an alert asking students to avoid walking in the downtown area.
As of 10:47 p.m., the standoff was still ongoing. More updates will continue.
Officials alerted students via the USM Facebook page at 11:41 p.m. that the Gorham standoff was resolved and roadblocks will be removed shortly.
This story will be updated.