Ohio Police Charge 2 College Students for Gun Prank That Led to Campus Alert

Two Wittenberg University students were charged Wednesday over a prank that led to a campus alert warning students of a gunman in a residence hall, police said.

The school sent text-message alerts to students Tuesday night after police said they received a phone call from someone claiming that a man with a gun was going into the building with a group of people.

City and university police surrounded the residence hall and searched for the group, which turned out to be students participating in a prank, and the gun fired only foam pellets, authorities said.

Still, the gun violated the university's zero-tolerance policy, and five students were taken into custody.

Conor O'Rourke, 19, was charged with inducing panic, and Ryan Gallatin, 18, was charged with complicity to inducing panic, according to the Clark County Municipal Court Web site. The charges are misdemeanors.

Springfield police could not confirm Wednesday night whether any other students had been charged. Police did not know whether either of the students charged had attorneys.

Wittenberg spokeswoman Karen Gerboth said university officials would interview all five students.

The school, about miles 25 miles northeast of Dayton, began its text messaging service after the April shootings at Virginia Tech, where a student killed 32 people before killing himself.