6 Oct 2015

Otago University shooting threat

5:22 pm on 6 October 2015

Dunedin police are investigating an online threat to carry out a shooting at the University of Otago tomorrow.

University of Otago

University of Otago Photo: 123RF

The threat was posted on an online bulletin board shortly before midnight last night and police say they are working working closely with the High Tech Crime Group in Wellington, and also with the University.

The anonymous posting on 4chan included a picture of a gun and referred to other massacres and shootings.

Inspector Melanie Aitken has reassured university staff and students as well as the wider Dunedin community that all safety measures were being taken while police investigated who made the threat and if it was genuine.

Ms Aitken says the advice is to be alert and vigilant but not alarmed.

She says it is being taken seriously and officers are maintaining a high presence on campus.

"We are also asking those in the University area to report any suspicious behaviour immediately to police.

"We understand that a threat of this nature could be concerning to some people. Police, Otago University and Campus Watch staff will be available to speak with anyone who has concerns."

The police have not confirmed that the threat is about a shooting but Radio New Zealand has seen the online message.

Radio New Zealand reporter Belinda McCammon told Checkpoint that the message was posted about 11.30pm on Monday and has since been deleted.

A spokesperson for the University says they are taking the threat seriously.

The University, and its student association, referred all other inquiries to the police.

One University of Otago student says she is not going to campus tomorrow following the online threat.

Ileana Lameta, a Health Science student at the university, says she just found out about the threat, and is in disbelief.

Ileana says the police presence on campus is reassuring, but she will be staying home tomorrow, just in case.

"It seems so foreign, it's not something you really hear about in New Zealand.

"People make a lot of really inappropriate jokes on the internet about this kind of stuff, I think you have to treat all of it very seriously."

She says she is not sure if the campus could be completely secured because it is so big.

A version of this story was first published on radionz.co.nz.