NEW ORLEANS — A former University of New Orleans student is under arrest for alleged terrorizing.
The New Orleans Police Department identified the suspect as 22-year-old Karam Mohammed Alhatel. Mohammed Alhatel was charged with terrorizing, stalking, and unlawful disruption of the operation of a school.
In an email to students and faculty, UNO President John Nicklow said the threats were serious enough to close campus on Monday.
“I was a bit overwhelmed, like seeing it at first because I was on my way to campus to get ready for school today, just to find out classes were canceled and campus was closed, a little overwhelming,” UNO student Caylee Fields said.
“I guess it’s kind of scary,” UNO student Brit Johnson said. “I’m glad everything is taken care of. But it’s kind of strange this would happen.”
According to Nicklow, last week Mohammed Alhatel entered a classroom and acted in an erratic and disruptive manner.
Sources on campus say he threatened a teacher in the chemistry department and a group of students in the library.
Nicklow’s email also indicated UNO police officers discovered a video posted Friday on one of the suspect’s social media accounts, showing him purchasing an assault-style rifle at a gun store, and additional photographs of him brandishing the firearm were posted across the suspect.
Students support the decision to close campus as a precaution.
“It really is good to be that careful because you never know who could possibly get hurt, UNO student Mariah Jones said. “You don’t want to bring any threats to an institution. President Nicklow’s precaution was really good for the school.”
“I think UNO took good precautions shutting down the school,” UNO student Christian Smith said. “Me personally, I don’t feel like going to school today, anyway.”
UNO officials said local and federal authorities kept tabs on Mohammed Alhatel over the weekend.
Officers from New Orleans, Jefferson Parish, and the U.S. Marshal’s office arrested him overnight.
Orleans District Attorney Jason Williams said threats like this sometimes have serious consequences.
Just last week, a shooting on campus at the University of Virginia left three football players dead and two others injured.
“Threats very quickly turn into mass deaths, mass homicides,” Williams said. “I think we have to take them very, very seriously. I think there are some serious mental health issues in our community, right now.”
Mohammed Alhatel now faces a list of charges including terrorizing, stalking, and unlawful disruption of the operation of a school.
The university is set to resume classes on Tuesday.