Quinnipiac University Arts and Sciences graduation was delayed because of bomb threats that were called in on Sunday afternoon.
Danielle Shea was accused of calling in threats to cancel a Quinnipiac University graduation. (Hamden police photo)
HAMDEN, CT (WFSB) -
Graduation for Quinnipiac University Arts and Sciences students was delayed because of bomb threats that were called in Sunday afternoon.
Hamden police responded to the Quinnipiac University library for the reports of the threats. An estimated 5,000 people were seated in the quad area, and the calls forced evacuations.
The library is close to the quad, which is why evacuations were necessary.
According to John Morgan, spokesman for the university, the graduation was moved to the York campus for 7:30 p.m. Sunday. The graduation was held at the TD Bank Sports Complex. The original time for the graduation was 6 p.m.
Police told Eyewitness News that the first call was made to Quinnipiac's Public Safety Department at 5:45 p.m. and then at about 6 p.m., and second threat was called in stating there was a "bomb in the library."
The caller then stated "several bombs are on campus. You haven't cleared out graduation. That's not a good idea." Police said that suspect told them there were no devices. Nothing was found on the property after a thorough search was done, according to police.
Hamden police and Quinnipiac University Public Safety were able to identify the telephone number that called in the threats. According to police, university records showed the number was a former student, Danielle Shea, 22, of Quincy, MA.
Shortly after, Hamden police located Shea inside of the TD Bank Sports Complex. She was dressed in a cap and gown. According to police, after further investigation, Shea was arrested and brought to Hamden Police headquarters.
According to police, Shea gave a detailed confession, and police learned that she did not attend Quinnipiac University this year. Shea's mother paid her thousands of dollars this year for what she thought was going towards her daughter's education.
When graduation day arrived, Shea had already bought her cap and gown and panicked when her relatives did not see her name on the graduation roster, according to police.
That is why police said Shea called in the bomb threats as an attempt to cancel the graduation.
"We were all a little on edge and it was pretty hectic, but the school handled it well," said graduate Ashley Sgro.
More than 300 students had to wait for their diplomas for an hour and a half.
"None of us knew what was going on or anything, so it was kind of scary but unexpected," said Bianca Stone, who was graduating today.
The ceremony was originally scheduled to be at the quad on the university's campus. With the new starting time of 7:30 p.m., the ceremony ended just after 9:15 p.m.
Police said they aren't taking this incident lightly.
Chief Thomas Wydra of the Hamden Police Department said, " This person made very irresponsible decisions and great disruption who deserve this ceremony without it."
Besides the delays, graduates said it was worth the wait.
"It was really nerve-wracking, everyone was really stressed out, but they pulled it all together, and we were so happy that we finally did and it all worked out," said graduate Erica Romano.
Shea was charged with threatening in the first degree and falsely reporting an incident. She was detained at police headquarters on a $20,000 bond and is scheduled to appear in court in Meriden on May 30.
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Friday, July 18 2014 3:26 PM EDT2014-07-18 19:26:33 GMT
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