Student Film Project Causes Campus Lockdown

'Gunmen' were tripod-carrying ninjas
By Neal Colgrass,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 14, 2016 3:04 PM CST
Updated Feb 15, 2016 12:53 AM CST
Officials congregate on the Arkansas State University campus in Jonesboro, Ark., on Dec. 10, 2015.   (Staci Vandagriff/The Jonesboro Sun via AP)

(Newser) – The Arkansas State University campus was put on lockdown Sunday after three men in black were reportedly seen carrying firearms—but officials later determined it was a student film project. The Arkansas State University Herald reports that after state and local law enforcement officers descended on the campus and failed to find any gunmen, they used security camera footage to determine that the false alarm had been caused by cast members dressed as ninjas for a film project by Hiroki Kawanami, a media production student from Japan. No guns, replicas or otherwise, were involved, but crew members were carrying tripods and other items that could have been mistaken for weapons.

Kawanami is "very embarrassed. He didn't mean any harm," a journalism professor tells the Herald. The lockdown lasted around an hour and no arrests were made. A university spokesman tells the AP that while they encourage people to say something if they see something unusual, if you are "going to be doing something that might be construed as being out of the ordinary, that you probably need to check in with the university administration to let us know what you're doing." It's no surprise that some people at ASU are edgy: The campus was locked down in December after a man drove on campus with a 100-pound propane tank, a 12-gauge shotgun, and a can of gasoline that he partly emptied on top of his truck. The 47-year-old surrendered to a SWAT team. (Read more lockdown stories.)

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