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Student Arrested After Halloween Costume Prompts Lockdown

Amanda Webster

Central Connecticut State University students and faculty are breathing easier after a hectic Monday afternoon that shut campus down following reports of an alleged armed man on campus.

Just before noon on Monday, Central Connecticut police were notified of a suspicious man on campus who at the time was believed to have a weapon on him. The school was immediately put on lockdown and students and faculty were told to remain indoors and stay hidden.

David Kyem, a senior at CCSU, was taken into custody around 3 p.m. and has been charged with breach of peace. He was released after his father posted $1,000 bail.

According to the Hartford Courant, Kyem stated, “I’m sorry for all the commotion and the fear and the confusion. I’m sorry for any problems. It’s obviously a big misunderstanding.”

In an interview with the Recorder via email, Peter Kyem, father of David Kyem and a geography professor at CCSU, said that the situation was a misunderstanding.

According to Kyem, his son was still wearing his Halloween costume from over the weekend, and it was his costume that caused some concern.

“I did not know much until after the lock down. I came home and saw his picture [of the arrest] at the website of Channel 3. I then went to CCSU police to inquire about him and they confirmed his arrest so I made arrangements to bail him. He said he left with some friends for UConn for a Halloween party on Thursday evening and stayed over the weekend. He returned to campus today on a public bus and in his Halloween costume and headed towards James Hall where he is residing now. It was then that some who saw him enter the hall called the police and the frenzy began,” stated Kyem.

Kaylie Washburn, a senior at CCSU, said that she called campus police after she saw a suspicious man on the bus. Washburn exited the bus and entered the Dunkin’ Donuts, located next to campus. She then alerted authorities about what she saw and that the man may have walked onto Central’s campus.
“He was wearing a black hoodie, camo pants, black boots, black knee pads, partial face mask…I thought it was because it was nippy [out],” said Washburn of Kyem in an email.
At first, Washburn said she was not that alarmed at his appearance but she was approached by someone else on the bus who said that they saw Kyem carrying a gun.
There were no weapons, real or fake, recovered at the scene on Monday, according to Chris Cervoni, interim CCSU police chief.
“I just assumed he was going to a martial arts place… but being a paranoid person, I was a little suspicious,” explained Washburn.

Cervoni said that the suspect was identified and located by the time stamp from cameras outside of James Residence Hall, along with the card swipe system, which grants access to the dormitory.

Cervoni said that there was no real threat to students and there was never a hostage situation, despite circulating rumors from concerned students on social media accounts. Two other individuals were also taken into custody and, according to Cervoni, all three individuals were cooperating with authorities.

Kayla Burgos was inside James Hall during the lockdown.

“I was really scared. Not knowing where [the suspect] was was really scary,” said Burgos. “I attempted to put the desk in front of the door, [I] put pillows on the windows.”

All of the emergency systems worked as they should have, according to President Jack Miller, who congratulated police and authorities for their swift response to the incident.

“My very sincere thanks to all of the officers that participated and provided support to us on the campus,” stated Miller. “From a personal standpoint I can simply say in this situation, our prayers were answered.”

One Comment

  1. henryfred November 5, 2013

    Dear Editor and CCSU community,

    As an alumnus, I am so relieved that nobody was hurt in the CCSU lockdown. And though the circumstances may now appear silly with confirmed reports of the student dressed in the Ninja-style Halloween costume with plastic sword, and no apparent ill-will, the procedures in place for this successful lockdown reinforced the importance of having a plan.

    This isn't something we would have even dreamed of dealing with in the early 1980s. But we live in a different world since 9/11. With the 21st-century digital age — Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, etc., — the ability to react and save lives has become invaluable.

    It also struck me as ironic that the F. Don James residence hall was where the student in question was taken into custody without further incident. James was president of Central Connecticut when I was a student. there. I received the "President's Citation" from him at graduation. News of this lockdown came full circle to me.

    Thankfully, Central was spared the bloodshed that befell Virginia Tech half a decade ago.

    As you continue on the path of life's journey after college as I have, you will come to appreciate the opportunities now in front of you in the classroom, on the basketball court or perhaps contributing to the college newspaper.

    Henry Frederick,
    Bachelor of Arts , 1984
    Political Science / Public Admin.
    Central Connecticut State University
    Editor-in-Chief, the Central Recorder, 1982-'84
    Founder of Campus Review, 1985
    Fulfilling career as daily metro newspaper reporter
    Founder & Publisher of Headline Surfer®,
    Award-Winning 24/7 Internet Newspaper
    Serving Greater Dayton Beach-Orlando
    Lake Mary, Florida

    PS: I have every copy of the Central Recorder from my fours years on staff. Copies of the two editions of Campus Review I that published are in the reserve section of the Elihu Burritt Library.

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