By Maira Ansari
LOUISVILLE (WAVE) -- A woman who walked into a health services building with a gun at the University of Louisville about 8:30 a.m. Thursday briefly took a counselor hostage before being disarmed, and that incident may be connected to the discovery of the bodies of two young children in an Okolona home. WAVE 3's Maira Ansari reports.
According to campus police, the woman is a student, and used a gun to hold her female counselor hostage. We're told the student was at the health center trying to get some sort of help, but the situation quickly turned confrontational.
At 8:32 a.m., a distress alert came in from student services, asking for an officer. Dispatch was alerted at 8:34, and a UofL police officer arrived on the scene at 8:39. That officer called for backup at 8:43 a.m., just three minutes before finding the armed suspect.
At 9:04 a.m. UofL officials used the new campus alert system to warn students and staff about the armed student, sending emails and text messages to students as well as broadcasting an alert over a PA system.
The suspect was disarmed by 9:13 a.m. and an all-clear was issued at 9:17.
UofL President James Ramsey said it took about 30 minutes from the time the first call came in until students were warned.
"The university immediately notified the campus through our emergency communication system," Ramsey said. "We actually have two systems on campus for notifying campus, so we notified the campus of the situation, asking students to stay away from the immediate area, and then once the situation was resolved, we again notified the campus."
Major Kenny Brown with the UofL Police Department said everything unfolded in the counselor's office and a nearby hallway. "This was an isolated incident down a hallway and into a building, which with us, in a situation like this, we were able to isolate it even more very quickly to keep the rest of the students on campus out of harm's way."
Students we spoke with said the system did its job.
"I think the text message was actually very valuable, said Cary Lucas, a senior at UofL. "Had I been coming to this campus, I certainly would have turned around and gone back home or figured out some other way to get where I was going so I wouldn't be putting myself in that kind of situation."
Allison Martin told us that, "after the Virginia Tech shootings, student fear goes up a little bit -- you don't want to be reactionary -- but at the same time it's good to always be prepared so I thought it would be a good idea to sign up for the messages."
School spokeswoman Cindy Hess says information was also posted one on its website, but the campus was not locked down.
The student was taken to the hospital for observation and her counselor accompanied her.
About six to seven officers responded to the incident, and LMPD officials now confirm they received a call from campus police asking them to check the home of the student, and that's where police found two young children who had been fatally shot.
We'll have the latest information as soon as it becomes available.
Online Reporter: Maira Ansari