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App State Student Charged for Gunman Hoax

Posted March 7, 2008

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— Matthew Haney, a 22-year-old English major from Durham, was charged Friday with filing a false police report that set off a panic that locked down Appalachian State campus on Monday.

Haney had told police that he interrupted an attempted break in at his off-campus apartment, near the school's Holmes Convocation Center. On Tuesday, police said that was bogus.

"The motive, generally speaking, was he maintains he found his door damaged when he came home," said Matt Stevens, an investigator with the Boone Police Department. "But he admits there was no man or armed man. He went to report it to his management and believed he would be held responsible. It sort of snowballed."

Haney was served with a misdemeanor warrant at the Watauga County magistrate's office, then released under a $500 unsecured bond.

He is to appear April 22 in district court.

Appalachian State locked down the campus for more than an hour and canceled night classes.

At the school, campus officials said Haney will go before a review board made up of students or a staff member who will review his conduct. They determine what happens to him, and their decision – anything from suspension to community service – is binding.

The lockdown occurred within hours of university officials' sending students an e-mail about plans for a new emergency message service.

The service was created in response to shootings last April at Virginia Tech, where a student gunman killed 32 people and himself.

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  • FromClayton Mar 10, 2008

    He is an embarrassment to my school. I understand how it snowballed, but use some common sense in the first place. He wasted a lot of money and upset a lot of people. Not to mention a slap in the face to the Universities where this tragedy has actually happened. At least App was able to test their warning system in a perceived actual emergency.

  • o Mar 7, 2008

    What a slap on the wrist