Police release 5 WKU students detained after lockdown

Five Western Kentucky University students who were detained for questioning after two fights Wednesday afternoon have been released, school officials announced Thursday.

The fights, along with reports of weapons being fired, prompted the university to cancel classes for the day, evacuate a building, activate its emergency notification system and place the main campus and South Campus into a secure mode.

School officials said Wednesday that no witnesses had reported seeing weapons or hearing shots fired.

There was a fight at South Campus between 11 and 11:30 a.m. and another fight on the main campus at Pearce Ford Tower.

According to a news release, issued Thursday by university officials, the WKU students denied involvement in the fights and no weapons were found in their possession, according to campus police.

WKU President Gary Ransdell defended the university's actions Wednesday. He said the report of shots fired "raised concerns of an ongoing threat, and that the altercation had escalated" and there was "sufficient information to activate our campus alert system and ensure safety for our students, faculty and staff."

Ransdell said in the release that reports to 9-1-1 indicated that people saw a fight and one heard a gunshot on the main campus, and that prompted officials to activate the campus alert. He said police have been unable to substantiate that guns were present or that shots were fired.

"I want to say how pleased I am with our emergency notification system," Ransdell said in the release. "It worked well. It was effective. No one beyond those involved in a fight was in danger, and the campus was secured until we were certain the matter was fully in hand and issued the all clear."