Shelter-in-place lifted at Salem State after police investigate armed suspect

Suspect arrested, rifle recovered after shelter-in-place at Salem State

SALEM, Mass. — Members of the Salem State University community were asked to shelter in place by the school on Thursday while police were investigating reports of a man with a rifle on the school's South Campus.

That shelter-in-place order has since been lifted. There were no injuries.

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The suspect that police were investigating has been placed in police custody, according to an email from the university that came in at 5:41 p.m. on Thursday evening. Officials also recovered the suspect's rifle.

Salem State released a statement just before 6:30 p.m. on Thursday addressing the shelter-in-place order given to the school community earlier in the day.

Following a report of an individual with a rifle on South Campus, a shelter-in-place was put into place for that campus this afternoon. The shelter-in-place has been lifted, and the individual is in Salem Police custody. We have alerted members of our community that they may resume normal operations.

"We all freaked out, shut the door, and we learned other students downstairs could see what was happening, and saw officers putting on bulletproof vests," said Jesselyn Arellano, a grad student at Salem State who was shaking as she got the alert on her phone.

"Just adrenaline, my heart was pounding," she said. "I almost threw up, it was scary."

Despite it being summer vacation, students tell Boston 25 News that there were people in the building where the gunman was.

Fwa Abusharkh lives across the street and saw the police presence. He told his family to stay away from all of the windows of the house, not knowing what could happen.

"I'm sitting there on my computer, if somebody actually shoots from outside, it's right there," he said. "We moved out of the front room and went to the back of the house."

A short time later, sources tell Boston 25 News that police arrested the gunman in the woods. Students and neighbors were able to stop worrying.

"It was an uncomfortable feeling, especially when you have family and kids in the house," Abusharkh said.

It's unclear what the motive was. The suspect was taken to a local hospital for a mental health evaluation.