DENVER (Reuters) - A machete-wielding man who was menacing people on the University of Colorado’s flagship campus was fatally shot by police officers on Wednesday after he refused commands to drop the weapon, authorities said.
Scott Pribble, police spokesman for the university’s Boulder campus, told reporters that authorities were notified shortly after 9 a.m. of a confrontation involving a man with a large knife near the school’s football stadium.
“There was some kind of an altercation in the parking lot” before the suspect went inside an athletic department building, Pribble said.
Officers from both the city of Boulder and campus police departments confronted the suspect in a stairwell and shot the man after he did not comply with repeated orders to drop the blade, Pribble said.
The man, who has not been publicly identified, died from his wounds, police said, adding no one else was injured in the incident.
The Boulder Camera newspaper, citing an unnamed source close to the investigation, reported the suspect appeared to be “a religious zealot” and was overheard saying he was “looking for sinners.”
CU-Boulder Police Chief Melissa Zak declined to confirm the newspaper’s report and would not comment on what the man said before or during the confrontation with police. Zak said a city of Boulder officer and a campus officer both fired on the man.
The shooting took place inside the Champions Center, a building adjacent to the football stadium that houses athletic department offices and training facilities. The university’s nationally ranked football team was practicing on a nearby field when the shooting occurred.
The person who encountered the man in the parking lot was a patient receiving treatment at the clinic, police said.
Campus police sent out text alerts warning students, faculty and staff to “take protective action” after reports surfaced of the armed man, a university spokesman said.
Classes and other activities resumed at the 32,000-student campus after the all-clear was given about 25 minutes after the incident was reported, police said.
Hours later, police rushed to the campus student centre after receiving apparently unrelated reports of an active shooter there, but that incident was later determined to be a hoax, the CU police department said on Twitter.
Reporting by Keith Coffman in Denver; Editing by Dan Whitcomb and Peter Cooney