According to the UTC alert system, UTC and Chattanooga Police are searching for a white man with blonde hair carrying a rifle walking on East 8th Street. Authorities have confirmed that the UTC campus is all clear and all units have discontinued operations.
According to Police Chief David Roddy, a Chattanooga Police officer at the end of their shift had their tactical gear. They were walking into their home and caused alarm.
Fletcher Hall has been mostly evacuated, with students being told to exit the building and not to worry about their belongings.
There are students still within Fletcher Hall, and they’ve been told to remain there until further notice.
“The rumor is that he’s in the basement in Fletcher and he’s not coming out of a certain classroom. That’s why my class hasn’t been evacuated yet. I’m not sure how true it is yet,” junior Hannah Walker said in a text message.
Walker, whose entire class is still in Fletcher Hall, said the building is full with police officers.
“A bunch of cops with very large guns just busted through the door and pointed guns at us and said police very loudly,” Walker said. “But then they told us to stay here and looked very surprised to see an entire class here.”
As of 1:21 p.m., Walker’s class was evacuated out of Fletcher Hall.
According to College of Business Professor John Morgan, faculty members were told there was a gunman on campus but to remain in the classroom until further notice.
“Of course in the society we live in, you feel a little bit of anxiety, but I stayed mostly focused on getting people out of the building and where they needed to be,” Morgan said. “My primary consideration of course was my students and our safety. My understanding was that we should stay in place until we hear something official.”
A portion of McCallie Avenue between Houston Street and Campus Drive has been blocked off by the authorities.
“As I was walking to class, I called UTC Police, and they told us everything was fine and to go to class,” freshman Hayden Wondrow said. “Then on McCallie, 15 police cars rolled up and told us he was in Fletcher and to evacuate the area.”
At 11:39 a.m., the UTC alert system tweeted, “campus is not on lockdown. We want all of our students to be aware of this information and remain alert.”
“I am very impressed though with the UTC police, how they shut down everything.” freshman Chris Offutt said. “It makes you feel very safe, but it’s just crazy that something like this could happen on our campus, which is a safe and beautiful place.”
Anyone with information on the situation can call UTC police at 423-425-4357 or 911.
Multiple students contributed to this story, including Logan Garrett, Amanda Morgan Fann, Joy Wolinski, Logan Rader, and Brianna Williams. Last update at 1:37 p.m.