MARYWOOD UNIVERSITY -- The President of Marywood University responded to student concerns that they weren't notified when a potential gunman was on campus.
About 60 police officers in Lackawanna County were dispatched to Marywood University Wednesday for the report of a man with a gun on campus.
Marywood students say they were terrified when the campus was swarmed with police Wednesday afternoon and there were reports of someone with a gun.
Students also say they felt left in the dark about what was transpiring the university, and law enforcement officials say there's a reason for that.
Dunmore police say a call about a student with a gun at Marywood came in at 3:38 p.m. Wednesday.
By 3:54 p.m., that student was in custody. Alex Barowski, 28, of Archbald, is facing felony charges including terroristic threats and reckless endangerment.
According to court papers, Barowski showed another Marywood student a handgun he kept on his belt in a menacing way then explained that he was struggling with school and recently had a breakdown.
That other student, who is not identified in court papers, made an excuse to leave and immediately told a faculty member.
"But for this person coming forward and notifying someone that something was apparently wrong, this could have been different. I'm not saying that it would have been, but we're at a point as a society that we can't take that chance and hope that this gets better, or hope that something doesn't happen," said Lackawanna County District Attorney Shane Scanlon.
Scanlon says officers found more guns, including a dismantled AR-15, in Barowski's truck, along with 200 rounds of ammunition. Later Wednesday evening, officers visited Barowski's home in Archbald. His family surrendered five more rifles and body armor.
"Even though nothing transpired, just to have the ability to have something take place here is a weird feeling, kind of scary."
A Marywood student, who did not want his face shown on camera says students were left in the dark as dozens of police officers from four different departments swarmed their campus.
It's prompted questions about how the college can keep students informed should there be another incident.
"That's what really freaked us out at the end, so there actually was something happening, something going on and nobody knew about it? There were no procedures in place to, I don't know, lock down the building, or stay safe, or not to go outside. That was kind of the panic at the end."
Marywood's president sent out a statement to students and to Newswatch 16 today saying that though the university does have an alert system it was not used because the situation was resolved within minutes.
Sister Mary Persico says protocols for incidents like the one Wednesday will be reviewed and promises to resolve issues students are raising.
She assures students the campus is safe and says counseling is available for students who need it.
Dear Members of the Marywood Community,
At the beginning of this new day at Marywood, I am thinking about our students and indeed all faculty and staff as we reflect upon the incident that occurred yesterday. As we encounter one another and our students today, I hope we can take this moment to stand together as a Marywood community and to assure one another that the safety and well-being of all is of utmost importance today and every day to come.
I know you all join me in a spirit of gratitude that no one was harmed yesterday. We could be facing an entirely different outcome and our hearts would be broken.
I realize you and many of our students and their parents are concerned and even angry that no e2campus alert was received about what was happening. The primary reason for this is that our Marywood Security Team thought first about our students who may have been in danger and moved quickly to the scene, where the individual was apprehended in a matter of minutes. We owe them, as well as the Scranton, Dunmore, and Throop police officers our heartfelt thanks and we cannot underestimate the selflessness of our own campus security in this matter.
It is understandable that some students are concerned about resuming their normal routine today. I believe it is best for them to assume their regular schedules knowing that you are there to support them and that the Counseling Center and Health Services professionals will be available to help them work through their concerns. The campus is safe and all of us will be vigilant in making sure that it continues to be safe for them and for all who come here.
Protocols for incidents such as occurred yesterday will be reviewed and widely disseminated in order to avoid the discomfort you and our students may have experienced. I promise you my best efforts to resolve the issues being raised.
We pray for the wellness and peace of our student who was apprehended. May today be an opportunity to realize that we all need to care for and support one another. We are one Marywood family - let us be stronger together.