Lillington, N.C. — Campbell University on Thursday expelled a student who engaged law enforcement in a three-hour standoff Wednesday afternoon and banned him from campus.
Deputies were trying to serve a warrant on freshman Jared Dale Knight, 24, when he barricaded himself inside a private home on Dr. McKoy Road at the northwest corner of Campbell's campus.
The incident put the Buies Creek campus on lockdown for much of the afternoon until the Harnett County Sheriff's Office SWAT team was able to persuade him to surrender.
Deputies seized two rifles and four handguns from the house, and Knight was charged with six counts of illegal firearms possession. A judge ordered him held under a $400,000 bond following a brief court hearing Wednesday morning.
Although Campbell prohibits possession of firearms on campus, university spokesman Britt Davis said the decision to kick Knight out of school and off campus was a direct result of the standoff and not because he violated university policy.
"In light of the charges he faces in Wake County and Harnett County, the administration felt it was in the best interest of the university and the community that he be dismissed and prohibited from returning to university property," Davis said.
Campbell's decision means that, if Knight posts bond, he won't be allowed back into the house he rents on campus – the site of the standoff.
Although the tension of Wednesday afternoon had faded by Thursday morning, many Campbell students were still in shock over the incident.
"You’re a student here first and I felt fairly safe, and now I’m just kind of shaken up," junior Chante Clark said.
Clark, who lives next door to Knight's house, said she was so upset by the standoff and his arrest that she slept someplace else Wednesday night.
"I’m glad that he barricaded himself in his house and wasn’t out and about with his weapon," she said.
"Everyone felt completely unsafe when they first heard it because the rumor that first went around was that there was a gunman on campus," said sophomore Molly Hudson, editor of the Campbell Times campus newspaper.
The paper coincidentally ran a story Wednesday morning about Campbell's policy against guns on campus. A local gun shop also took out an ad in the paper.
"I think students (who opposed the policy) have mostly changed their minds," Hudson said.
According to data submitted to the U.S. Department of Education, Campbell reported eight crimes on campus last year. Six were burglaries, and the other two were vehicle thefts. Records also show there have been no weapons charges on campus in at least three years.
Knight was first arrested by Fuquay-Varina police on Tuesday on a charge of larceny by employee. The charge stemmed from the theft of an AR-15 semi-automatic assault rifle from the Sovereign Guns shop in town, where Knight worked.
Kiran Frampton, the owner of Sovereign Guns, said security video showed Knight stashing the weapon in a bag.
Frampton said he noticed Wednesday that six more weapons were missing from the shop, and investigators were dispatched to Campbell to question Knight, who had been released after posting bond, and search for the guns.
Harnett County Sheriff Larry Rollins said Knight was able to slip out of handcuffs as his deputies were putting him in custody. He then ran into a bedroom where the guns were stored and locked the door behind him, the sheriff said.
Knight made no threats during the negotiations, Rollins said, and the standoff ended peacefully.
Daimon Knight, who spoke with WRAL News by phone from his home in Lubbock, Texas, said his son is an Iraq war veteran, and he believes that he could be suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder, noting that he acted differently following his deployment.
Military officials said in court records that there was no evidence to link Knight's PTSD to his service in Iraq.
Knight received a bad-conduct discharge from the Air Force in January 2009 for taking about $10,600 in military property for his own use. Military police found him in possession of the property after he was arrested and charged with impersonating a Texas wildlife officer, according to military court records.
Campbell conducted a background check on Knight before allowing him to rent the house on campus, but Davis said the military charges didn't appear on it. He said he couldn't speculate on whether Knight would have been allowed into the house if the university had known about the case and his discharge.