LA CROSSE (AP) - A student accused of taking a shotgun into a University of Wisconsin-La Crosse classroom was known to authorities because of recent erratic behavior, campus officials and police said.
The male student was arrested about 9 a.m. Thursday outside Cowley Hall where he had taken an unloaded, cased shotgun into a classroom, campus police Chief Scott Rohde said.
Earlier Thursday, the unidentified student went to the university police office to complain that Chancellor Joe Gow and other university officials had contacted his family about his unusual behavior.
Professors alerted campus police last month when the student began behaving strangely. He had begun to see himself as a law enforcement figure, Gow said. The student recently withdrew from full-time status and was taking one class online, Gow said.
"Frankly, I was a little unsettled that he had named me" earlier when he met with police, the chancellor said.
Professor Bob Ragan said university staff members are "pretty shaken" that their earlier reports of student's behavior weren't enough to prevent him from entering a university building with a gun.
The student carried the shotgun in a camouflage case into Cowley Hall, but what he intended to do with the weapon is unclear, Rohde said. He never took the gun out of the case and didn't have ammunition, the chief added.
Police arrested the student in a parking lot as university staff prepared an emergency text and email alert. A campus-wide message was sent out after the incident.
"The response was very quick. A vast majority of students, faculty and staff didn't even know it happened," Rohde said. "From the time the initial call was made until the person was identified and secured and no longer a threat to anyone was about 10 minutes."
Erin Beecher, 20, was in an anatomy class during the incident. She was shocked to find the student had made it onto campus with a gun.
"I can't believe all the crazy stuff that's been going on. With Boston, it's just another thing," Beecher said in reference to this week's fatal bombings at the Boston Marathon.
Gow praised police for a swift response to the incident.
"This played out about as best as it possibly could," Gow said. "This is a big wake-up call that this kind of thing can happen anywhere, and we need to be prepared."
The student could face criminal charges, authorities said.
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