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Officials say Gainesville man prompted campus scare
Milledgeville college put on alert after alleged threats
0123Gunman-HoldenFurner
Holden Furner

BY STEPHEN GURR

sgurr@gainesvilletimes.com

A Gainesville man’s threats on the Milledgeville campus of Georgia College and State University early Friday prompted officials to activate an emergency alert system before he was found and arrested.

Holden Furner, 20, used his cell phone to threaten three Georgia College students from a campus parking lot, college spokeswoman Judy Bailey said. Furner allegedly said he had a gun.

Dave Groseclose, the college’s vice president for public safety, said students, faculty and staff were alerted by text message and e-mail at 4:54 a.m. of possible danger after a 911 call reported a man with a gun in a campus parking lot threatening students by phone.

Furner was later located unarmed and arrested by Milledgeville police. Police have not located a gun.

"This appears to be an isolated incident between the man and an ex-girlfriend," Groseclose said. "We responded quickly and efficiently to ensure the safety of threatened students and the entire campus."

Furner, who is not a GCSU student, was arrested and charged with three counts of felony terroristic threats, underage possession of alcohol and misdemeanor obstruction of an officer.

Milledgeville Police Sgt. Michael Harris said his department alerted campus police shortly after receiving a 911 call reporting the phoned threats. The suspect was tracked to a location on campus and officers called Furner on his cell phone to try to get him to surrender, Harris said.

"But when he came out of the woods and saw us waiting for him, he backpedaled," Harris said. "We arrested him on railroad tracks after a brief struggle."

A second alert was sent to students and faculty at 5:36 a.m. after the suspect was captured.

GCSU is one of several colleges that have put into place emergency alert systems in the wake of the Virginia Tech shootings of 2007. The University of Georgia had such a system prior to the Virginia Tech tragedy.

"Our emergency alert system worked smoothly to protect our students and campus while officers located the reported gunman and arrested him," Groseclose said. "The second alert, less than an hour later reporting the arrest, was a welcome one."

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