Update: Shelter in Place Advisory Lifted As Police Incident Moves “Far South” of Campus

The scene at the corner of Washington and Water Streets around 11:15 p.m. (Photo Benjamin Pontz / The Gettysburgian)

The scene at the corner of Washington and Water Streets around 11:15 p.m. (Photo Benjamin Pontz / The Gettysburgian)

By Benjamin Pontz, Managing News Editor

What We Know

  • At 11:07 p.m. on Wednesday, Ivan Taylor, Assistant Director of Patrol and Investigatory Operations for the Gettysburg Department of Public Safety, sent an email to the campus community informing them that law enforcement authorities had set up a perimeter encompassing the East Quad of campus to Railroad Street.
  • The DPS dispatcher told The Gettysburgian that students are advised to shelter in place.
  • At approximately 11:35 p.m., an Adams County dispatcher confirmed to The Gettysburgian that the situation remained an active incident.
  • At 12:22 a.m., Taylor sent a follow-up message indicating that there was no longer an active situation on campus. Further, he suggested that reports that the suspect had a weapon were unsubstantiated.
  • At approximately 1 a.m., Officer Ryan Eiker with Cumberland Township Police confirmed to The Gettysburgian that the incident had moved off campus and that there “wasn’t ever really a threat” to the campus community.
  • Responding to reports by DPS that the suspects were armed Eiker said, “As far as I know there wasn’t any type of firearm displayed. Could they have been in possession of a firearm? Probably, but we can’t say yes, there was a firearm involved.”
  • Eiker said that an investigation is pending and that the vehicle has been impounded pending a search warrant. Police are still searching for the two suspects at this time, and anyone with information is asked to call 911.

What We Don’t Know

  • The identities of the suspects or if they were armed.

The Gettysburg College Department of Public Safety (DPS) advised students to shelter in place around 11:30 p.m. Wednesday after law enforcement set a perimeter around parts of campus when a suspect fled a vehicle of which Gettysburg Borough Police was in pursuit.

An email sent to the campus community at 11:07 p.m. indicated that State Police, National Park Police, and Gettysburg Police had established a perimeter from Carlisle Street to North Washington Street  in the vicinity of W. Water, Delap Alley and Railroad Street after a black male in a gray hoodie, possibly accompanied by another suspect, fled a vehicle of which Gettysburg Borough Police were in pursuit. While the initial email suggested the suspect may have had a gun, a second email from Taylor sent at 12:22 a.m. said, “There is no information available to indicate the persons have been apprehended nor was there confirmation that any of the subjects involved possessed a gun.  The preliminary information from county control that one of the subjects was believed to have a gun was unable to be substantiated by DPS supervisors speaking with the police. ”

A dispatcher at DPS advised students to shelter in place at approximately 11:30 p.m., although this information was not included in the first communication to the campus community. Both the DPS dispatcher and a police dispatcher with the Adams County Emergency Services office declined to state whether there was an active crime scene at the college, although an Adams County dispatcher confirmed at approximately 11:35 p.m. that the situation remained active and the suspect had not been apprehended.

At approximately 12:20 a.m., a dispatcher with DPS told The Gettysburgian the situation had moved “far south” of campus. No police presence was visible standing at Railroad Street looking south past Seven Eleven. However, the suspect had not been apprehended as of Taylor’s 12:22 a.m. email update.

At approximately 1 a.m., Officer Ryan Eiker with Cumberland Township Police confirmed to The Gettysburgian that the incident had moved off campus and that there “wasn’t ever really a threat” to the campus community. Eiker said that the vehicle in question had fled a routine traffic stop in Biglerville Borough and that “stop sticks” had been used by police to deflate the vehicle’s tires. The vehicle came to rest in the area of Railroad Street and the suspects fled on foot with one observed fleeing west on Railroad Street and the other fleeing west on Delap Alley, Eiker said.

Responding to reports by DPS that the suspects were armed Eiker said, “As far as I know there wasn’t any type of firearm displayed. Could they have been in possession of a firearm? Probably, but we can’t say yes, there was a firearm involved.”

For their part, DPS sent an update at 1:44 a.m. which read in part, “During the police pursuit a shiny object was thrown from the window which may have been a weapon (gun).  There was an object later recovered however it was not a weapon (gun) and no weapon (gun) was ever found/recovered.”

Eiker said that an investigation is pending and that the suspect’s vehicle has been impounded pending a search warrant. Police are still searching for the two suspects at this time, and anyone with information is asked to call 911.

This article was last updated at 2:02 a.m. on Thursday, October 5. Editor-In-Chief Jamie Welch contributed to this report.

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Author: Benjamin Pontz

Benjamin Pontz '20 serves as managing news editor of The Gettysburgian, a position he has held since the middle of his first year, during which he wrote 50 articles on topics ranging from student activism on campus to sports. Ben also served as the event coverage and social media coordinator and led the paper's inaugural efforts using Facebook Live and live tweeting events on campus. He is a political science and public policy double major with a minor in music, and he reads up to seven newspapers daily. Follow him on Twitter @benpontz.

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