Missouri State Receives Threatening E-Mail

Apr 19, 2007

Craig Hall on the Missouri State campus was locked down briefly Thursday morning after two faculty members received threatening e-mails. Michele Skalicky reports.

Craig Hall on the MO State campus was evacuated and locked down thursday morning after a threatening e-mail was sent to a faculty member in the Modern and Classical Languages department and to the department head.

The e-mail contained threats of violence against students of varied ethnic backgrounds, according to the Springfield Police Dept.

No weapons or explosives were found, and authorities reopened Craig Hall less than an hour later.

Springfield police officer Grant Story says 30-year-old Christopher Suttles of Phillipsburg was arrested at Craig Hall and taken to the Springfield Police Dept. for questioning.

"Now, what he's been arrested on is actually making terroristic threats, which is something that's not very common. What we're dealing with is that he took actions knowing that his actions would cause a risk for people to be frightened, for buildings to be evacuated and things of that nature."

Suttles is a junior majoring in foreign languages.

MO State president Dr. Michael Nietzel believes the incident was part of a ripple effect from Monday's shooting at VA Tech.

"Incidents like this, disruptions like this, are taking place at a number of campuses, and, certainly, one would find it at least curious the coincidence of something like this happening after the VA Tech shooting."

The shooting in VA have led university officials across the country to evaluate the counseling services that are in place to help students. Bernie Snodgrass, director of Taylor Health and Wellness Center at Mo STate, says a variety of counseling services is available there for students that need them.

"We have services available for students at both the Counseling Center and at Taylor Health. We have physicians who see students on a routine basis, plus we have consulting psychiatrists that come into Taylor Health Center on a routine basis."

Grant Story says they took all precautions they felt were necessary to make sure Craig Hall was safe after being notified of the threatening e-mail. Dr. Nietzel says he feels confident university officials and officers handled the situation in the best way possible.

For KSMU news, I'm Michele Skalicky.