Sound of popping balloons prompts active shooter scare on Barry University campus

MIAMI SHORES, Fla. – There was a scare on the campus of Barry University on Thursday following reports of an armed and active shooter.

A series of loud popping sounds created pure panic, but fortunately, it turned out to be a false alarm.

Cellphone video shows people hiding in a campus library while officers armed with long guns were called in to usher students to safety.

The incident drew a large contingent of officers from the Miami Shores Police Department and the Miami-Dade Police Department.

Local 10 News has learned the sounds came from Thompson Hall, where an event was underway and, according to the university, the noise was just balloons popping.

Witnesses say people were running away and even off campus they didn’t know what to think.

Text alerts and emails did go out, but some students feel staff were even caught off guard by the chaos.

“We were just wide open in the dining hall with doors open and everything. We just felt like there was no sense of urgency, everybody was just kind of confused,” said student Ivanie Mercado.

Another student, Nathan Beresnitzky, said, “We saw a bunch of people just kind of scatter out and we had one of the staff bring us to the corner up there, and we’re basically just waiting on her and everyone was like, ‘keep the doors locked, make sure no one leaves this area.’ It was a very jarring situation.”

Police spent about two hours on campus, but eventually the all clear was given.

There have been no reports of any injuries.

A spokesperson for the school said there was never a shooter or assailant, and there was no threat to campus.

About the Author:

Terrell Forney joined Local 10 News in October 2005 as a general assignment reporter. He was born and raised in Cleveland, Ohio, but a desire to escape the harsh winters of the north brought him to South Florida.