Local News

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

Posted January 8, 2013 7:00 p.m. EST
Updated January 8, 2013 7:55 p.m. EST

— 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."

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.