Watch CBSN Live

Student Film Causes Campus Gun Scare

Despite some students struggling to regain a sense of normalcy following last week's tragic shooting at Virginia Tech, nerves were still on edge even beyond that campus' borders.

At the University of Virginia in Charlottesville, students reported seeing a gunman around the engineering building Monday night. Police received a 911 call after someone saw a man, dressed in black, carrying a gun and roaming around Wilsdorf Hall.

CBS affiliate WCAV in Charlottesville reports that when city and university police arrived, a female student told them they were filming a scene for a class project that involved a robbery.

As a precaution, police, with guns drawn, combed through and evacuated the building.

One student, a sophomore, was arrested for having a plastic BB gun, an unauthorized projectile weapon that is banned on campus.

"They hadn't told their professor that they were going to use this particular prop in the filming," Capt. Michael Coleman of the UVa Police Department told WCAV, "so folks weren't aware they were going to use it."

Police said he had no ammunition.

It is unclear if this scene for the project was planned after the massacre at Virginia Tech or if it was just a coincidence.

Students who heard the sirens and watched the drama unfold before their eyes believed there might be a gunman on campus, and said the university should have done more to tell them what was going on late Monday night.

One student suffered a panic attack while others barricaded themselves in their rooms. Two students were so scared they locked themselves in their dorm, telling 911 operators they would not answer the door unless police used a special knock. Others said an RA told them to stay in their rooms.

"She started closing all the blinds and she said she got a call from another RA and that we should stay in our rooms because something was going on," Sarah Zuckoff told WCAV correspondent Lisa Ferrari.

But then no one told them it was safe to come back out.

"She said the police were starting to leave, but she really didn't give us any more information than that," said Zuckoff.

University officials on the scene said they made sure everyone was okay, but students said they wished the university had told them more.

"I would expect that if something were to happen they would e-mail us right away," UVa student Margaret Long told WCAV.

Students said they never received an e-mail, and one learned about the incident from the morning newspaper.

"I accidentally went onto the Cav Daily Web site and saw this posting was on and I was kind of shocked by it," said Quang Nguin.