UC Berkeley lifts shelter-in-place order after campuswide threat

Sather Tower at UC Berkeley.
Sather Tower on the UC Berkeley campus, where Thursday’s lockdown has been lifted.
(Josh Edelson / For The Times)

The UC Berkeley community on Thursday was ordered to shelter in place for more than four hours due to what officials described as a credible campuswide threat.

The order was lifted around 1:45 p.m., but details remained scant about what prompted the emergency measure.

University spokesman Dan Mogulof confirmed that “an individual affiliated with the university had issued serious and credible threats of violence toward other, specific individuals who work or learn at the university.”


UC Police officers found the person at an off-campus location Thursday afternoon, Mogulof said, adding that the individual “poses no immediate threat.”

University police officials did not respond to requests for more information, and Mogulof declined to say whether the person had been arrested.

UC Police first alerted the campus to the threat on Twitter at 9:30 a.m.

“Please go inside and move away from doors and windows,” they said. “Police activity on campus.”

About an hour later, officials confirmed the incident was not related to an active shooter but said they were “actively looking for a person who may want to harm specific individuals.”

Students took to Reddit, Twitter and other social media platforms seeking answers about the nature of the threat, but few were immediately available.


One student, who asked to remain anonymous for safety reasons, told The Times that students who were sheltering inside a classroom were traumatized, and some were crying.

Mogulof said officials could not provide more details during the lockdown for safety reasons and so as not to impede the efforts of law enforcement.

“The threats that UCPD was made aware of this morning were extraordinarily serious and very credible,” he told reporters Thursday afternoon. “And when threats like that are received, the university doesn’t hesitate to respond quickly and comprehensively. We’re not going to take any chances when it comes to the safety of the community.”

He said UCPD became aware of the threats “through a variety of different sources” but declined to say whether the person was on campus or armed.

The situation appears to have been related to a student “who has been placed on interim suspension for threatening behavior,” according to an email sent to top university officials and shared on social media.

Mogulof said he could not verify the information in the email but confirmed that it was sent by a campus employee.


In response to the threat, officials with the Berkeley Unified School District placed nearby public schools on a “soft lockdown” out of an abundance of caution, including Berkeley High School, Berkeley Technology Academy, Willard Middle School, Emerson Elementary School, Sylvia Mendez Elementary School, Washington Elementary School and King Child Development Center.

District spokeswoman Trish McDermott said a “soft lockdown” means students can still move between classes, but all access points to the schools are locked and administrators are monitoring who can enter. That lockdown was lifted at 2:30 p.m.

All campus services at Berkeley, including parking garages, libraries and restaurants, were closed and in-person classes were canceled for the remainder of the day, according to campus security. Facilities Services locked buildings on campus.

Officials asked people to leave the campus “in a safe and orderly way via the closest route available” after the order was lifted.

“UCPD has determined based upon its investigation that it is appropriate to end the shelter in place,” they said. “Buildings will remain locked.”

An investigation into the incident continues, Mogulof said.

Times staff writer Nathan Solis contributed to this report.