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SC State president: Gun that caused lockdown was ROTC 'dummy weapon'

Authorities found no evidence that the cadet who had the fake gun pointed it at anyone or intended to threaten students.

ORANGEBURG, S.C. — The gun that led to a lockdown on the South Carolina State University campus on Thursday turned out to be made of wood - and an important part of one campus organization.

A spokesperson for S.C. State said that the university went into lockdown around 10:45 a.m. when authorities were told of a person walking on campus who they believed may have had a gun.

The university initially restricted access to its grounds as authorities searched for the person. Students and employees were also told to shelter in place. 

However, in an update provided to News19 around 1:15 p.m., campus police identified the person in question and "determined that no live weapon was involved."

In a press conference, S.C. State President Alexander Conyers confirmed that the gun in question was a wooden training device used by the university's ROTC program.

Conyers said the gun was spotted by an employee who quickly reported it as it was out of the norm for her to see the item. He, however, said that she did the right thing by letting authorities know about it.

President Conyers said roughly 200 new cameras on campus helped them quickly narrow their search and identify the person who was carrying the item as an ROTC cadet. That cadet was later found and the artificial weapon was retrieved. 

"I'm hoping that young cadet will learn his lessons and realize that he made a mistake that he probably should not have been carrying the weapon in the way that he was and hopefully, one day, will become a general officer from South Carolina State University."

Investigators said they found no evidence that the person with the fake gun meant any harm or that the person pointed it at anyone at any time.

With the lockdown lifted, the campus is returning to regular operations.

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