World & Nation

Student’s Halloween costume prompted Connecticut college lockdown

SWAT team at Central Connecticut State University
Police swarmed the campus of Central Connecticut State University in New Britain, Conn., on Monday in response to reports of an armed man. The man turned out to be unarmed and wearing a Halloween costume.
(Jessica Hill / Associated Press)

In the end, there was no gun, no violence, no shots fired, no victims, no angry manifesto -- just a massive police response and a big campus scare at Central Connecticut State University, all prompted by a student’s Halloween costume on Monday.

Senior David Kyem, 21, the son of a professor at the New Britain school just southwest of Hartford, apologized for the confusion, and said he was wearing his costume because he couldn’t fit all of it into his backpack.

He was dressed as Snake Eyes from the “G.I. Joe” movies, a costume that included a fake sword, a fake gun and camouflage pants, plus some other accessories, like a tactical vest.

“I’m sorry for all the commotion and the fear and the confusion,” Kyem told the Hartford Courant, which reported that he was ultimately charged with breach of peace. “I’m sorry for any problems. It’s obviously a big misunderstanding.”


Campus police said they received multiple 911 calls of a suspected gunman moving through campus and entering James Hall, which happened to be where Kyem lives.

Police swarmed the university grounds as bewildered students, confined to their dorms and classrooms, shot photos and video of SWAT teams slithering through the campus.

Kyem, who was locked down in his room with his roommates, told the Courant he had no idea he’d caused the shutdown until friends called later to say that they think he prompted the scare.

Police ultimately called his cellphone and gave him instructions on how to surrender, and photos from the scene showed officers leading Kyem away.


At a news conference shortly after the lifting of the lockdown, university police chief Chris Cervoni raised the possibility that Kyem might have been in a costume, but then batted down the suggestion that the scare was merely a prank.

“It wasn’t a prank because there was concern,” Cervoni said. “There was alarm.”


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