MISSOULA – Authorities are investigating after a man was shot at the University of Montana in Missoula during the first day of classes Monday.
Police were called at about 6 p.m. after the man was shot in the hand as he and several others stood in the parking lot on the south side of the Lommasson Center, which houses a dining hall and several offices. The victim was found with his sister on a street corner near the northwest part of the campus and was taken to a hospital.
Police say another man was being questioned, but no arrests have been made. Meanwhile, a shotgun believed to have been the weapon involved has been recovered.Police Lt. Geron Wade said it was unclear if the shooting was an accident or an attack, but the passenger-side window of a green Saturn was shot out. He said he thinks the car "was just in the wrong place and got hit.
"We're not sure what we've got yet," Wade told the Missoulian. "We do have one man who has a non-life-threatening wound to his hand, but we're not sure of the circumstances surrounding the shooting."
Witnesses told the newspaper two young women and three men were standing in an open parking space in the Lommasson lot when they heard what sounded like a firecracker. Freshman Brendan Hooks of Helena said everyone in the group started screaming except the man who was shot.
UM executive vice president Jim Foley said the university activated its emergency notification system within six minutes of the shooting, posting an alert on electronic message boards telling people to stay away from the area. The Lommasson Center, where hundreds of students were eating dinner, was not evacuated.
Foley said that, in consultation with police, the university decided not to send out text alerts to students, faculty and staff. He said the decision was based on an assessment of the threat level.