December 17, 2012
On Fri., Dec. 14, responding to a report of threats, Ohio University Police Department (OUPD) arrested employee Stacy Gorham, 53, of Athens.
Police were acting on reports that Gorham allegedly made threatening remarks to coworkers about bringing a shotgun to work if the University took steps to end his employment. A utility worker with the University, Gorham believed he would be terminated for losing keys issued as part of his job.
Officers apprehended Gorham as he reported for work at approximately 4:30 p.m. Friday. After speaking with Gorham and eyewitnesses, officers obtained a search warrant for his residence at 30 Old Coach Road, Athens. With assistance from the Athens Police Department (APD), officers executed a search of Gorham’s property, seizing eight firearms, including two shotguns, two long rifles, an SKS, an AK-47 and two handguns, along with ammunition for each weapon.
After conferring with the prosecutor, Gorham was charged with inducing panic and possession of criminal tools, both first-degree misdemeanors. He was transported to the Southeast Ohio Regional Jail. Gorham posted bond Saturday and was released from custody. He was scheduled to appear in Athens Municipal Court today at 9:30 a.m.
The University has placed Gorham on administrative leave, and he has been ordered not to return to campus.
“This was an example of swift and close cooperation between University Human Resources, OUPD, APD and the Athens County Prosecutor’s Office,” said OUPD Chief Andrew Powers. “It demonstrates that our community responders have prepared for these types of incidents and respond quickly to potential threats.”
Powers also credits Gorham’s coworkers for taking the threats seriously and reporting them. Officers from both OUPD and APD participate in regular active shooter training, with many officers also certified to teach other members of law enforcement. Additionally, OUPD offers training for University departments, offices and student organizations on topics such as workplace violence and responding to an active shooter situation.
Local law enforcement agencies encourage everyone in the community to be alert and attentive to the suspicious comments of coworkers or friends who appear to be acting in a concerning manner and report such behavior immediately. If the concern involves violence, reports should be made directly to the police.
On the Ohio University campus, OUPD will meet with those making a report to review the situation and determine the potential for violence. In cases where there has been no criminal violation, but there is still a cause for concern, OUPD officers will work with those involved to develop a safety plan and monitor the situation.
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