The University of Wisconsin-Madison mobilized its crisis response machinery on Tuesday evening, when it announced that both UW Police and the Madison Police Department were on the search for a suicidal man near the UW Hospital who claimed to be armed with a gun.
Closing all entrances to the hospital with the exception of the ER, officers were searching for Jesse A. Miller, described as a "19-year-old white male, with brown hair, 6 feet tall, 160 lbs." As detailed in the initial announcement:
The initial emergency call came at roughly 4:40 p.m. to the Dane County Crisis Center about a person at the top of the UW Hospital parking ramp who was apparently suicidal. As officers were responding, new information was provided that the person had a firearm and intended to be killed by a police officer.
Two additional emergency calls were made within a short time later that police believe were initiated by the person of interest. A call came into the 911 center that there were shots fired at University and Highland avenues. Next, there was a call of a bomb threat called in by a person who claimed to be a security officer with a local firm.
The University Communications department subsequently issued multiple updates on the situation, starting at 6:45 p.m. and continuing through the evening. They noted the late afternoon start of the situation, details on campus building closings and crisis security requirements, offerings of free cab rides for students, and announcements about normalization of operations at the UW Hospital and other location around the university.
The latest update from the university was issued at 11:00 p.m., noting that "campus operations are expected to return to normal Wednesday." It reads:
UW-Madison Police have information to believe that Jesse A. Miller, the person of interest in the emergency situation today at UW Hospital and Clinics, is a danger to himself, but not to members of the UW-Madison campus community.
Based on the latest information as of 11 p.m. today, campus operations are expected to return to normal Wednesday morning (Sept. 26), with continued heightened security at UW Hospital and Clinics and in the West Campus Area.
Students should plan to attend normal morning classes, all employees should report to work and anyone with an appointment at UW Hospital should plan to arrive at the designated time. Check the university Web site at http://www.wisc.edu/, or your local news for the most up-to-date information.
"This has been an unusual and troubling situation, but we have confidence that UW Police and other police agencies are handling this situation well," says Provost Pat Farrell. "I want to thank students, faculty and staff for heeding campus safety alerts and spreading important information this evening."
Police believe that Tuesday's incidents reflect a cry for help and are asking Jesse Miller to call (608) 264-COPS in order to come forward to get support and services.
Additional updates about the incident are available from campus publications The Badger Herald (here and here) and The Daily Cardinal (here). More details were likewise provided by a campus blogger (here, here, and here), including the original communication about the crisis from UWPD Lieutenant Joe Hornbeck.
The university offers this final warning: "If you see Jesse A. Miller, a 19-year-old white male, with brown hair, 6 feet tall, 160 lbs., the person of interest in this situation, call 911 immediately and leave the area."