NEW ORLEANS — The University of New Orleans canceled classes and closed its campus on Monday after a former student who caused a classroom disturbance last week shared videos of himself purchasing a rifle at a gun store.
Police say they arrested 22-year-old Karam Mohammed Alhatel in connection with Terrorizing, Stalking, and Unlawful Disruption of the Operation of a School.
Superintendent Shaun Ferguson said, “Keeping our community safe is our number one priority. The swift actions of our law enforcement partners and the community working together prevented what could have been a tragic event.”
In a statement to the campus community on Sunday, John Nicklow said the campus would be closed "out of an abundance of caution" due to a possible threat to the university.
While Nicklow's original message offered few details about the threat, he provided more information in a follow up on Monday morning. In the second message, Nicklow said a former student entered a classroom last week and "acted in an erratic and disruptive manner."
University police began investigating Mohammed Alhatel which led to more suspicious activity, Nicklow said.
"Our 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," Nicklow said. "Additional photographs of him brandishing the firearm were posted across the suspect's social media accounts."
Nicklow said the posts prompted a "multi-agency surveillance" of the former student that continued over the weekend, with the student's off campus location continuously monitored.
Law enforcement agencies secured warrants for terrorizing, stalking and unlawful disruption of the operation of a school. New Orleans Police, the U.S. Marshals and the Jefferson Parish Sheriff's Office arrested the former student overnight without incident.
"The suspect is in custody and no longer poses a potential threat to the UNO community or the larger community," Nicklow said.
The campus will reopen and classes will resume as normal on Tuesday.