Man arrested in university shootings; at least one dead - Cleveland 19 News Cleveland, OH

Man arrested in university shootings; at least one dead

By M.R. KROPKO, Associated Press Writer

CLEVELAND (AP) - A gunman in camouflage opened fire Friday inside the Case Western Reserve University business school, killing at least one person and wounding another.

The standoff ended seven hours later, with police taking a suspect in custody. Police Chief Edward Lohn said the man, who is not a student, suffered two gunshot wounds but was able to walk and get on a medical gurney himself.

He said the man was armed with two guns, was wearing a bulletproof vest, a wig and "a kind of World War II Army helmet."

"We believe he is the shooter or one of the shooters," Lohn said. He would not elaborate.

Lohn said about 70 people had been in the Peter B. Lewis Building (pictured, above) and that most had been rescued. He would not say how many people were injured, saying family members had not been notified.

Hospital officials said one person was killed and another wounded.

"As the SWAT team entered the building, they were constantly under fire," Lohn said. "They couldn't return fire because of the design of the building they didn't have a clear shot."

The distinctively designed building has hallways that dip and swerve and a curving roof of stainless-steel that seems to tumble to the ground.

Earlier, students and faculty scrambled to get out of the building after seeing the gunman fire indiscriminately. An unknown number of people were trapped inside, too fearful to move. Many stayed in contact with loved ones and co-workers through e-mail and telephone calls.

"We're all shaking and quite scared. One of the girls in our office is seven months pregnant -- we're trying to keep her as calm as possible," Tracy Warner, 30, told The Associated Press from a third-floor office where she was hiding with several other people.

Sachin Goel, 26, a master's student from India, said he was talking with two friends on the first floor outside the cafeteria when the gunman approached and shot one of his friends.

"My friend said he would give me a ride home and then I heard him shouting. I heard gunshots," he said.

His friend screamed as he was shot. Goel and his other friend dove under a table and the gunman fired at them.

"But he couldn't get us. And then he again shot at us and we turned the table and put it in front of us," Goel said.

Albert DiFranco, 26, an assistant alumni director, said he was returning to his first-floor office from the bathroom when he saw drops of blood and broken glass on the floor outside his door.

Then people shouted down from a second-floor mezzanine for him to get out.

"I ran out," he said. "People were saying, 'Go go go!' I got down to the ground."

Bonnie Copes, an administrative assistant, said she heard several gunshots beginning around 4 p.m. Copes, 50, was locked in a department office inside the building and unable to leave. She continued to hear gunshots.

"Rounds and rounds and rounds," she said in a telephone interview with The Associated Press.

About four hours later, rescuers began taking people out of the building, and they were being reunited with family members waiting at a nearby campus auditorium.

University Hospital spokeswoman Janice Guhl said a male who had died was taken to the hospital. She wouldn't release specifics of his injuries. She said no others from the business school were taken to the hospital.

Denise Smith, a spokeswoman at Huron Hospital, said a male was treated for a gunshot wound in the buttocks and was listed in good condition. Smith said a female was treated at the hospital and was in stable condition. She did not have details on her injuries, including whether she had been shot.

Officers had appealed to the man earlier Friday to call a designated police phone number. It was not clear if he had.

By early evening, two dozen SWAT officers, holding shields and wearing helmets and bulletproof vests, moved inside.

Police said the man was believed to be using a high-powered rifle.

"He had a machine gun, book bag, camouflage shirt, military green hat, white pants and a book bag," LeKisha Spencer, 28, who works in a first-floor cafeteria. "I didn't see his face.

"He was just walking, aiming his guns and firing."

Dick Bennett, director of development for the Weatherhead School of Management, was locked in a third-floor room with eight other faculty members. He said few students were in the building because finals were completed last week.

William Day, a student at the Cleveland Institute of Music, was passing by and saw the gunman enter the building.

"I saw this man with camouflage enter the door ... and I was like, that's weird, and then all of a sudden people started running out of the building and they were telling me that he just went in there and started just spraying the place with bullets," he said.

The $62 million Peter B. Lewis Building opened in the fall and was designed by Frank Gehry, the internationally renowned architect who also created the titanium-covered Guggenheim museum in Bilbao, Spain.

Case Western is at University Circle, a park-like setting of cultural, medical and educational institutions on the eastern edge of downtown. There are 1,600 students in the business school and a total of 9,500 at Case.

The Lewis building is about five stories high. Instead of walls on the south side, it has a curving roof, made of 20,000 stainless-steel shingles, that seemingly tumbles to the ground.

Lewis, an art collector and the billionaire chairman of Progressive Insurance, gave Case $37 million toward construction of the building, which opened in the fall.

Because of the shootings, the Cleveland Orchestra, which performs in nearby Severance Hall, postponed until Sunday its Friday performance featuring pianist Mitsuko Uchida.

(Copyright 2003 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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