Gun incident reported on Southeast campus

Monday, May 7, 2007

A 21-year-old Southeast Missouri State University student from St. Louis was arrested by police after he threatened a female student with a shotgun outside the Towers residence hall complex Sunday.

He was charged Monday with the class D felony of flourishing a shotgun in an angry or threatening manner. Associate Circuit Judge Gary Kamp set bond at $7,500, cash only.

Harlston could face up to a year in the county jail or up to four years in prison.

The incident occurred about 5:20 p.m., school officials said Monday. Lemell Harlston of St. Louis was stopped by a Cape Girardeau police officer at the intersection of Sprigg and Bertling streets at 5:31 p.m., police said.

He was driven back to the Towers complex where two witnesses identified him as the individual who was brandishing the shotgun.

Harlston was taken into custody. School officials said Harlston has been ordered to stay away from the campus.

A source close to the situation said Harlston has been kicked out of school.

According to school officials, Harlston threatened the woman because of long-standing altercations with another woman.

"It appears that the incident is connected in some way to a continuation of long-standing altercations between two female students, and directly to an incident at an off-campus social gathering Saturday evening," the university's Public Safety Department said in a brief statement issued Sunday night.

Art Wallhausen, associate to the president at Southeast, said DPS officers are now patrolling more around campus residence halls and will continue to do so throughout this week, which is the last week of the spring semester.

University officials have decided to lock all exterior residence hall doors through this week. A room or building key will be needed to gain entrance to the residence hall floors.

Wallhausen said the university wants students to feel secure. "I think we wanted to reassure people that there was no crazy gunman running around like they had at Virginia Tech."

Said Wallhausen, "We are not going to take any chances that this could escalate into something worse."

Check back at later today for more details.

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