D.C.

American University president explains lockdown decision

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(WJLA) - The president of American University is defending a decision to place the school on lockdown amid concerns of a gunman on campus.

President Neil Kerwin says in a statement to the university community that the lockdown Wednesday night was tense and disruptive, especially with students preparing for finals. But he says the university must respond to every potential threat. 

"... in this day and age, we are required to respond to and communicate every potential threat, until we can rule out imminent danger," Kerwin wrote.

AU officials ordered students to shelter in place after a passenger on a university shuttle bus reported seeing a fellow rider with what appeared to be a holstered gun inside his jacket. The passenger took a photograph, which the school distributed online. The man was later identified as an off-duty D.C. police officer. 

Under D.C. law, off-duty officers are authorized to carry their firearms at all times.

Kerwin says the lockdown lasted approximately two hours and that the school regularly updated students and parents.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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