After a panicked situation that had authorities fearing they were dealing with an active shooter, a suspect is in custody facing charges and a mental evaluation. 47-year-old Brad Kenneth Bartelt drove his pickup onto a lawn at Arkansas State University at about 1:30 p.m. Thursday while displaying a shotgun, police said.
He also had a 100 gallon propane tank in the back of his truck and a container of gasoline in the cab, which Jonesboro Police Chief Rick Elliot said he splashed on the truck at one point during the hour-long standoff.
Cell phone video captured students fleeing in a panic as an alarm sounded. Buildings were locked down as heavily armed police responded.
After containing the situation, Elliot says officers approached Bartelt, who had a 12 gauge shotgun pointed under his chin.
"Negotiators from the SWAT team began to talk with this individual and after a time the suspect threw down his shotgun and surrendered to officers. He was taken into custody without any incident, so we're blessed today that no one was injured," Elliot said.
In a news conference hours after the incident, the police chief said his department had been notified that Bartelt had posted on Facebook that he was homicidal and suicidal and referred to an incident with the Social Security Administration.
Bartelt wrote about an accident that occurred in 2012 at ASU-Newport, where he had taken commercial driving classes. He had apparently been injured in an accident involving a truck driven by another students.
In the Facebook post, Bartelt wrote:
Need Assistance! Have Federal Judge "John Goree" of Social Security Administration mis-stating, changing n falsifying medical records documented over 22 times!!! Have multiple Civil Rights Violations of Federal Workforce, Arkansas University and several Arkansas Dept. of, all resulting from 8/22/12 accident at A.S.U. Newport!! Have multiple Malpractice/Ethics/Misconduct of Medical and other Professionals also documented!!! NO ONE will even read much less touch or help due to FEAR OF GOVERNMENTAL consequences!!! Told multiple professionals and people in State of Arkansas I AM SUICIDAL and now HOMICIDAL, which is what appears they want so problem goes away, thought I would DIE from injures or kill myself by now!!! Any and ALLL assistance as we as passing this on to everyone you know would be appreciated!!! This story is True, Documented and does not need to covered up, but put into the Light. MY DEATH should not and will not end the TRUTH!!! I already died twice as result of accident, if necessary let my last DEATH be for a purpose!!! Let the TRUTH and JUSTICE be shown. IF NOT IN THIS LIFE, SURELY IN THE NEXT! GOD BLESS n PROTECT US ALL!
"When we arrived he was threatening himself, so obviously he was despondent over something," Elliot said. He added that Bartelt did not threaten any officers, but was wanting to hurt himself.
After being taken into custody, bomb squad technicians were sent in to examine the vehicle. The lockdown was then lifted except for an area immediately around the truck, which was near the student union building.
Bartelt will face criminal charges, Elliot said, as well as a mental health exam. He had been a student previously at ASU's Newport campus. Authorities could not speculate why he came to the main ASU location in Jonesboro.
ASU Chief of Police Randy Martin praised the handling of the incident by his officers and those of the Jonesboro department and Craighead County Sheriff's Office.
"I am thankful for the rapid response of the university police officers on duty to contain the suspect to his vehicle and keep him from entering any of the campus buildings. I'm also very thankful for the outside agencies' quick response and to further contain the situation to prevent any injuries or loss of life," Martin said.
He added that as a precautionary measure, the university would increase the number of patrol officers on campus for the rest of the week, though "we have no indication of any further threats to the campus community."
The incident happened as students were taking final exams. ASU announced the campus would be closed for the rest of Thursday and tests scheduled for that day would be administered next Wednesday.
Information from the Associated Press and Reporter Johnathan Reaves with Jonesboro station KASU contributed to this report.