Man with guns arrested at HACC
Posted by Tom Bowman/The Patriot-News June 20, 2007 12:57PM
Categories: Crime, Dauphin County, Education, Midstate
A man armed with a 9 mm pistol who police said talked about Virginia Tech was arrested yesterday inside Cooper Student Center at Harrisburg Area Community College.
The man approached a student and said he had guns in his car, Harrisburg Police Chief Charles Kellar said.
"It would be worse than Virginia Tech if someone broke into my car. I have guns in the car," Dauphin County First Assistant District Attorney Fran Chardo quoted the man.
John Sakkas of Lemoyne said he heard about a man with a gun at Cooper Student Center during his 8 a.m. speech class today.
The student told an armed HACC security guard that the man had a pistol, and the guards called Harrisburg police, then watched him until police arrived, said HACC spokeswoman Tracy Mendoza.
City police searched the man, found the 9 mm loaded handgun in his backpack, then took him to the police station, Mendoza said.
Kellar said the man had a concealed weapons permit and was legally allowed to carry a pistol. Police searched his car and found a second pistol there and another firearm in his home.
Police talked with Chardo about charging the man. Chardo said what the man said would not qualify as a terroristic threat because there has to be an intent to terrorize another person.
"Because of the statement I was greatly concerned about this fellow," Chardo said. "I contacted the sheriff and had his license to carry a firearm revoked. And I asked police to commit him under Section 302 of the mental health procedures act and that was done. He is now ineligible to possess firearms because he was committed involuntarily."
Chardo said the law says a person cannot possess a firearm if they have been adjudicated incompetent or involuntarily committed for inpatient mental health care.
A source close to the police said the man lives in the 3700 block of Green Street, Susquehanna Twp. The Patriot-News is withholding the man's name because he has not been charged with any offense.
Neither HACC nor Harrisburg police released any information on the incident yesterday.
After the man was arrested, HACC chief spokesman Pat Early sent out an e-mail to the college staff explaining the incident. Early said he did not tell the students or the public about the incident.
"It was something that was handled quickly, quietly. There wasn't anything to tell," Early said. "Our (security) officers approached the man when the Harrisburg police arrived. They determined indeed he was carrying a weapon. He was taken into custody and removed from the campus."