COLLEGE PARK, Md. (ABC7, AP) - University of Maryland students remain in shock after Alexander Song, a sophomore honors student, allegedly threatened a "shooting rampage" on campus over the weekend.
"It was really shocking," said Steven Kotowski, who lived a few doors down from Song. "[He's] not the kind to say something like that."
Kotowski said he remains stunned that Song, a sophomore honors student, allegedly posted threats against his classmates online.
Sources tell ABC7 News that social and academic pressures had been weighing on Song. Campus police responded to his residence hall several days ago and found Song screaming and upset.
According to a statement from University Police, the student posted statements to websites, saying “I will be on a shooting rampage tomorrow on campus”, “hopefully I kill enough people to make it to national news”, and “stay away from the Mall tomorrow at 1:30”.
An investigation led detectives to believe the statements came from Alexander Song, 19, of Fulton, Md., a current student.
Song was arrested and detectives took him to an area hospital for an emergency psychiatric evaluation. Police say Song was unarmed when he was arrested.
While the threat was dismissed by some online as harmless, a former student who used to work with campus police took it seriously and first called authorities Saturday night. By Sunday morning, police had set up surveillance on Alexander Song and arrested him on campus.
"The best security we have is us looking after each other," said university police chief David Mitchell. "And that's exactly what happened. Three people saw online postings and called us."
Miller says Song admitted to feeling stressed and was shaking and crying at the time of his arrest.
Mitchell says police were called about a week ago to a dormitory for a report of a person screaming loudly.
Police at the time interviewed Song but did not find him to be a danger to himself or others.
Among University of Maryland students there are two strong reactions to Song's arrest. Those who know the chemical engineering student say he would not have carried out his alleged threat.
“He seems like a pretty smart guy,” says Jack Chen. “I don't think he would do something like that.”
But many others found the warning of a rampage to be very real indeed.
“I'm afraid there are other people that are thinking of doing something especially to know he lived below me is really terrifying,” says Veronique Anderson.
Nobody answered the door at song's family home in Howard County Monday. Neighbors say they know little him or his family. At the University of Maryland Monday, the quiet young student has seemingly everybody talking.
“For me personally its unsettling,” says Jessica Haviland. “After the Virginia tech shootings, you think about the possibility of it happening on your campus but it never really come to the forefront of your mind and just to hear that someone was considering it is very scary.”
Song faces a misdemeanor charge of disturbing school activities. A police spokesman has said he doesn't know if he had an attorney and a working phone number for his parents could not immediately be found.