AMES, Iowa -- Ames is full of energy as the first week of classes wrap up at Iowa State University. Thursday night a campus police investigation near Sophomore student Levi Frazier's residence could have ended a life. "It was really weird when it is where I live. That was a scary moment," he said.
Officers responded quickly around 9:40 pm after reports of four black men armed with weapons near the Frederiksen court neighborhood. "The tactical mindset sets in for the officer and they begin to plot out how they set up a perimeter. How they'll protect themselves and people in that area," said ISU Police Department Chief Michael Newton.
It quickly spread through campus thanks to an ISU alert. As the investigation unfolded, ISU police say those four suspects were quickly found to have been using two BB guns. Chief Newton said, "The hard thing is these weapons look so real. There is no way for an officer to distinguish, is this really a pellet BB gun until we come in actual contact with it." One was even equipped with a sight beam laser. "An officer has split seconds and if someone had pointed these weapons at an officer, it could have ended badly," said Chief Newton.
National headlines of officers shooting BB gun wielding suspects, black men in particular, is something Chief Newton said could have been a reality for his department Thursday night "It's not just the life that gets ended by the officer involved shooting. It is the life of the officer, the family members and everybody involved that has to live with that trauma."
The suspects turned their BB guns in to authorities while campus was under alert. Chief Newton said, "I'm really proud of the officers. They did a fantastic job and they worked fast in a dynamic situation."
A crisis thankfully averted said Levi, "It was one of those moments where you were grateful. Thank God it wasn't anything extreme."
No charges have been filed in the case and the investigation remains ongoing.