Threat letter found in Undergrad Library

By Mark Rivera

University police are currently investigating a threatening note found in the Undergraduate Library men’s restroom at 11:30 a.m. Sunday.

According to Roy Acree, investigations lieutenant at the University Police Department, the note stated that someone would be shot on Halloween night on Green Street.

Lisa Hinchliffe, head of the Undergraduate Library, said as soon as the note was found, University police was contacted.

The author of the note also claimed to have damaged a vehicle window in the parking lot of the Savoy 16 Theatre, 232 Burwash Ave., on Saturday.

Police at the Champaign County Sheriff’s Office confirmed they received a report of a damaged vehicle window at 2 a.m. Saturday and are currently investigating the case.

Get The Daily Illini in your inbox!

  • Catch the latest on University of Illinois news, sports, and more. Delivered every weekday.
  • Stay up to date on all things Illini sports. Delivered every Monday.
This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.
Thank you for subscribing!

Acree said University police held this information for five days to take preliminary steps in the investigation.

“We had to look into the information first,” he said. “We don’t know how credible or not (the note) is.”

Despite its unknown credibility, Acree said police are taking the threat “very seriously.”

The University Police Department is heading a task force comprised of authorities from the FBI, the Champaign Police Department, Champaign County Sheriff’s Office and the Urbana Police Department to investigate the threat.

The Champaign Police Department will assist University police in whatever they need for the investigation, said Rene Dunn, assistant to the chief for community services, but all calls will be deferred to the University department.

Acree said the FBI was brought in because the University does not receive many threats like this.

“They have more resources,” he said. Acree added that behavioral scientists were one resource that may be helpful. He said they could be used to analyze the handwriting of the note itself.

Tamara Harvatt, sophomore in ACES, said she was worried.

“Now I can’t go out on Halloween,” Harvatt said. “With everything that happened with Northern, it freaks me out.”

Despite initial fears, University spokesperson Robin Kaler said the note does not represent an immediate threat.

“Our goal is to balance our efforts and enlist the community’s help to identify who the writer was with the goal of not creating any undue alarm throughout the campus community,” she said.

Acree said the text messaging system is in working order.

However, Kaler said she did not think it would be needed at this time.

“Our communication system for different emergencies has several levels, and when something is not an immediate threat, our main level is to go through the local media and to use our Web site,” she said.

She added that as the threat continues to be investigated, appropriate channels will be used to inform the community.

“If we get to the point where we feel there is imminent threat of great bodily harm to anybody on campus, then that’s when we would consider using the text messaging system,” Kaler said.

Jonathan Troup, graduate student, said he agreed with Kaler’s assessment of the situation.

“There’s no need to live in paranoia,” Troup said.

Hannah Hess and Joanna Aguirre contributed to this report.