UPD body camera video takes courtroom observers inside UC day of lockdown

In day two of testimony in the trial of the former Utica College student accused of calling in terroristic threats to the school back in March, Utica Police body camera video took jurors and all courtroom observers inside the campus during the six-hour lockdown.

Posted: Nov 27, 2018 5:46 PM
Updated: Nov 28, 2018 9:29 AM

In day two of testimony in the trial of the former Utica College student accused of calling in terroristic threats to the school back in March, Utica Police body camera video took jurors and all courtroom observers inside the campus during the six-hour lockdown.

In the video, police officers are seen and heard in DePerno Hall, yelling, "Police! Open up! Hands up! Hands up!" as staff walk through a hallway and down stairs with their hands in the air.

Gregory Morawiec, an investigator with the U.S. Marshals Service, testified Tuesday. Morawiec helped clear classrooms during the lockdown, and described the lengths to which students and staff went to keep themselves alive and safe.

"There was a back closet. To this day, I don't know how they all fit," said Morawiec. He also described an encounter with one of his daughter's friends in one of the classrooms.

"Out of the blue, some girl just came running up to me, bear hugged me, was crying. It was her."

Morawiec said he was impressed; that the students and their professors seemed to do everything right in the chaotic situation.

"We would identify ourselves as police, 'open the door!' No one would listen. No one would talk to us, even respond to us. When we finally opened the door, we had to almost push it through most of the rooms. It took a lot of energy, a lot of people, because they had piles, desk, furniture, you name it."

A former sniper for the U.S. Marine Corps who is now a Utica Police officer offered a possible explanation for the level of preparedness: just a few months prior, he and a colleague had taught a course for UC staff and faculty. 

"The basic run, hide, fight for active shooter situations," said Investigator Joseph Amerosa.

Body camera video showed a completely empty hallway at the school, but the police officer who was wearing the camera testified Tuesday that he could see people peeking through the mini blinds that covered the classroom windows, and, that he saw students huddled in the corner.

Defense Attorney, John Raspante, asked some of the prosecution's law enforcement witnesses the same question.

"Are you familiar with the effects of abusing Adderall? And certainly you don't have any idea how it relates with not sleeping for days on end and its interraction with Adderall?"

An Oneida County 911 Center employee described a phone call she took from a male caller March 6th, the day after the lockdown.

"There's going to be another shooting at Utica College today. Good luck."

The trial resumes Wednesday at 9:45 a.m. At that time, Prosecutor Grant Garramone will resume calling witnesses.

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