PULLMAN, Wash. – Police in Washington, D.C. – Several miles from the Moscow, Idaho, crime scene where four local college students were killed – police descended on a neighborhood near another university in what police describe as an unrelated incident.
A community on edge woke up Thursday morning when residents of a building on Southeast Latah Street in Pullman, Wash., were evacuated hours after police arrived on the scene after what a man described as gunfire.
A Pullman Police Department official confirmed that Pullman’s activities were unrelated to the Moscow, Idaho murders. Officials were not immediately available to provide additional information.
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Photos from the scene showed multiple law enforcement officers and vehicles in the area adjacent to the south side of WSU’s Pullman campus early Thursday morning. Neighbors and witnesses said they heard several gunshots in the area.
WSU Pullman sent out its first public alert shortly after 3 a.m. local time, “SWAT TEAM OPERATION.” An alert was later sent out around 4:30 a.m., and the Pullman Police Department said it had “handled the situation” and declared the scene clear.
Phil Weiler, vice president of marketing and communications at WSU Pullman, said the school was not involved in the incident, but “has issued a shelter-in-place to notify our students and make sure they avoid the area.”
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Rory Schuller, a senior at WSU Pullman, said police arrived at his apartment Wednesday night and his friend saw more than a half-dozen police cars parked outside.
Schuller recalled hearing what he described as “bean bags and tear gas,” and what appeared to be police smashing the window of a resident in the building.
“Then we started hearing gunshots from the gunman,” Schuller said. “The first one at 2:15 a.m. … I counted 26 shots from the gunman.”
Schuller said residents were evacuated from the area around 4 a.m. and taken to another location by bus.
“At the beginning of the situation, I don’t think I understood gravity. But as the shots continued, I felt like there was a rock inside me and I felt nervous.”
The building is just 15 minutes and about nine miles from the Moscow crime scene where four University of Idaho students were killed more than a month ago.
On Nov. 13, Kaylee Goncalves and Madison Mogen, both 21, and Ethan Chapin and Hana Chernodle, 20, were found stabbed to death at the girls’ off-campus home.
The bodies of the victims were found before noon on November 13. 1122 King Road is just one block from town. University of Idaho in the form of campus and some fraternity houses.
Officials said the victims were sleeping when they were attacked between 3 a.m. and 4 a.m. Each victim was stabbed multiple times and some showed signs of trying to defend themselves.
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The murder has been committed out on the second and third floors, officials said. Two other roommates were downstairs in the home and were unharmed, police said.
Last week, police said they received tips and advice about a white 2011-2013 Hyundai Elantra that was seen near the scene of the crime in the early hours of November 13. They are appealing for any information from the public to speak to the person or people inside the vehicle.
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The Moscow Police Department is calling on the public to come forward with any images or information they believe may be important or helpful to the investigation. The public can do this by calling 208-883-7180send tips via firstname.lastname@example.org or sending digital media Here.
The government also created custom web page In relation to the King Road attack.
Danielle Wallace and Haley Chi-Sing contributed to this report.