CHESTERTOWN, Md., Nov. 17 (UPI) — A Washington, D.C., area college was evacuated and closed for the second straight day Tuesday, while authorities search for a student of the school who may be an armed and “despondent.”
Washington College was locked down early Tuesday as law enforcement officials ramped up their search for Jacob Marberger, a student who has been missing for the last two days — and whose parents notified police to communicate serious concerns.
The parents told police that Marberger, a student at the college, had taken a gun when he left their home Monday. They also said repeated attempts to contact him had failed.
Monday, the school closed and administrators ordered a shelter-in-place warning to students of the Chesterfield, Md., campus. Tuesday, that alert was raised to a full evacuation.
The school announced its campus would be closed until further notice while local and federal authorities search for Marberger.
“We have not had any direct threats against campus or any members of our community, but in the interest in caution we feel closing campus until the situation changes is the best course of action,” the college said on its website Tuesday. “Anyone who has contact with Jacob should contact law enforcement immediately.”
Officials are concerned about potential actions from Marberger, a student body leader who faces possible expulsion from the school over an incident that happened at a fraternity last month.
The 19-year-old was suspended for more than a week after police said he brandished a handgun while drunk during a party at the Phi Delta Theta fraternity house, where Marberger is a member. He was also kicked out of the fraternity and resigned his post in the student government.
Marberger’s parents told police their son had become “despondent” over the incident.
Officials said the man faces multiple criminal counts, including possession of a dangerous weapon on school property, handgun on a person, possession of a firearm by a minor, and illegal possession of ammunition.
The college had planned to reopen Wednesday but abruptly issued the evacuation order and closed the campus indefinitely after receiving new information from law enforcement early Tuesday.
“Faculty and nonessential staff who are on campus should leave campus and return to their homes; anyone who is off campus should stay off campus until further notice,” the school said.
Police said a warrant for Marberger’s arrest stems from an incident at the Maryland campus, but did not specify whether that was a reference to the purported gun possession at the fraternity house or another incident altogether.
Marberger was reportedly seen at a nearby Walmart buying ammunition on Monday, but authorities have not yet confirmed the sighting.
Incidentally, Marberger appeared in a photograph in a school posting in February about an art exhibit that demonstrated against gun violence.
“Prepare to cower at our might, frail capitalists. Our dear leader and comrade has been again placed in the seat of power in the corrupt land that is Washington,” the Facebook post read. “All property is now the state’s, all ‘small business owners’ and ‘job creators’ (lackeys of the capitalist pigs) shall be hanged, and no more will joy be permitted unless shown due to socialist euphoria!
“Reagan may have mocked us, but we shall have the last laugh!!!”