1 in custody after threat closes Southwest Tech campus, evacuates students

One person was arrested after a technical college in Grant County has evacuated its campus Wednesday because of a threat, the school said.

Southwest Tech officials in Fennimore said the man believed to be responsible for the threat, William A. Howell, was taken into custody Wednesday morning.

School officials said there was a threat to a female student via social media. The student told police before she came to campus, and officers met her on campus.

Officials said law enforcement notified them at 8 a.m. that there was a direct threat to campus safety. According to a post on the Southwest Tech website, officials immediately closed campus. Officials said the evacuation was precautionary.

“If we are feeling there is a direct threat to one student. There is potential that it could spill over into the community. So, at that point, we felt like being proactive was better than reactive in this situation,” said Danim Hoff, director of facilities.

According to the Grant County Sheriff’s Office, Howell told his estranged wife he was going to assault a man who he thought she was in a relationship with. The man is also a student at the college.

“You have to err on the side of caution. I think they made the right steps to do that. The threats were just vague enough to say, ‘I don’t know what he is going to do,'” said Sheriff Nate Dreckman

At about 10 a.m., Southwest Tech officials said the person was taken into custody, but the campus will remain closed Wednesday and plans to reopen Thursday.

1 in custody after threat closes Southwest Tech campus, evacuates students