Local News

Tip led to NC State employee's arrest on weapons charges

Posted January 8, 2013

— An anonymous tip led North Carolina State University police to investigate a campus employee accused of storing several guns and weapons on the campus, according to a university spokesman.

Police on Monday arrested Steven Patrick O'Connell, 56, of 6909 River Run, on three counts of having a gun on educational property and one count of having weapons on campus.

Authorities said O'Connell, a necropsy medical support technician at the College of Veterinary Medicine, consented to the police search Friday of his employee locker, where police found an unloaded Colt Delta Elite 10mm handgun and a loaded Taurus .357 Magnum revolver.

A subsequent search of a locked cabinet in O'Connell's office turned up two axes and a dagger, and police searching his truck found a new Colt AR-15 rifle that was still in the box.

"There was no report of a threat," university spokesman Brad Bohlander said. "Someone saw or heard something that was not right, and they reported it to police."

Steven O'Connell Tip led to NC State employee's arrest on weapons charges

O'Connell, who has been with the vet school for more than 24 years, is on investigatory leave and has had his keys and all access to campus revoked, Bohlander said.

According to the vet school, there are no complaints on O'Connell's employee record. Co-workers who did not want to be identified said he has been going through a divorce.

"Why (he allegedly brought the weapons onto campus) is certainly part of the police investigation," Bohlander said.

O’Connell, who was released on bond, could not be reached for comment Tuesday.


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  • hardycitrus Jan 17, 2013

    Getting divorced and needed to get the guns out of the house.....

  • irishale Jan 17, 2013

    "Obviously another horrific tragedy prevented. "

    Is it Jump to Conclusions Day?

  • urtwopid Jan 10, 2013

    Bottom line, it is a law that no guns are allowed on the campus. He should have been arrested. The School has no other option than to fire him. There can not be any tolerance for forfeiture of the rules on weapons. Think of the consequences. Now, the rifle in his car, just makes for a better story. He made a big mistake. Ooops.

  • gevalia Jan 9, 2013

    Ok, lets not go code blue here. There apparently is no reason to assume the guy was about to go postal. It is more likely he was trying to get some of his more expensive possessions out of the house and away from his wife so she would not take them in the divorce. Been there myself and you don't always make the best decisions.
    When I was in school at State in the early 60s students having firearms in their rooms was not an unusual thing. I know several guys who kept their hunting rifles in their dorm rooms as their homes were hours away and the went hunting on the weekends. I bought at least 2 firearms from a guy who dealt them out of a footlocker in his dorm room. No one had ever heard of a mass shooting then and the presence of guns was a given.
    A question: I have a concealed carry permit and occasionally have a firearm with me. If I cut across State campus from Western Blvd to Hillsborough St going to my Daughters place near cameron village am I subject to being arrested?

  • rachel Jan 9, 2013

    actually, he may have just been trying to hide some community property from the soon to be ex and he hid his guns at his workplace for lack of another space-guns are valuable-it doesn't say who tipped off the police-

  • mojridingrb Jan 9, 2013

    "Obviously another horrific tragedy prevented. "

    You came up with this conclusion all by yourself? The only thing he was doing was storing the guns in his locker. The coworkers interviewed all said he is a great guy. Nothing in the police investigation suggests any foul play or intent on his part. Yet you with your Nostradamus abilities concluded a horrific tragedy was prevented. What a crock!

  • free2bme Jan 9, 2013

    Regardless of why he had the guns, your workplace is not the place to store or house weapons. There is no excuse for that. It sounds like he may have been getting ready to try something that was not right. He definitely did not use good judgment here at all. In that case, something bad was likely prevented here.

  • ripetomatoes Jan 9, 2013

    Excellent work on the part of all involved. Obviously another horrific tragedy prevented.
    It is better to err on the side of caution.
    Rules are pretty easy to follow if you want to keep your job.
    This guy was a ticking time bomb if he had guns at work.

  • dsdaughtry Jan 9, 2013

    I completely agree with the comments of computer trainer! spot on!

  • Jonny 2nuts Jan 9, 2013

    and a dagger -- story quote

    yesterday it was a "Gerber knife"

    Actually Gerber makes all kinds of knives, including fixed blades that could be considered a "dagger".