WEST LONG BRANCH — The all-clear was given at Monmouth University early Thursday morning after a curling iron mistaken for a weapon put the campus on shelter-in-place status Wednesday night.

University police received reports of an armed individual on the school’s main campus in West Long Branch around 9:15 p.m. Wednesday night, according to university spokeswoman Tara Peters. Multiple local and county law enforcement agencies including MOCERT, Monmouth County's tactical team, a K-9 unit along with the FBI were brought in to search and secure the campus.

The school and Monmouth County Prosecutor Raymond S. Santiago just before 2 a.m. said the threat was unfounded and no shots were fired on campus despite posts on social media. An elevated police presence remains on campus.

In a letter to the campus community, President Patrick Leahy said detectives utilized video footage to identify a "person of interest" who is a student.

"Based on interviews with that person, law enforcement personnel were able to determine that the person was in possession of a curling  iron that was mistaken for a weapon," Leahy wrote.

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The start of classes is delayed until noon on Thursday.

Response to threat at Monmouth University 3/22/23
Response to threat at Monmouth University 3/22/23 (Jersey Shore Fire Response)

Search of the campus

The campus search was conducted both indoors and outdoors. A video posted by The Lakewood Scoop showed officers in a darkened room offering reassurance to students.

"We're here. Nothing's going to happen," the officer said.

Santiago thanked law enforcement personnel throughout the county who immediately responded to the threat. He said Monmouth University police and the administration "at all times, had the interests of the students and local community in mind."

Assisting University police were the Monmouth County Sheriff's Office and police from Long Branch, West Long Branch and Ocean Township.

Photos courtesy Jersey Shore Fire Response

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