Suspect named in ‘veiled threat’ against student

By Julian Routh | News Editor

A Scott man is awaiting a hearing on charges he threatened a Duquesne student on Facebook last week.

Shane Murphy, 22, was arraigned Sept. 25 on two counts of terroristic threats after posting a message to Facebook that said, “Equipment, check. Firepower, check. Gameplan, check. It’s go time,” according to a criminal complaint.

The message was directed toward Murphy’s ex girlfriend, a Duquesne resident student, the complaint says.

Members of Murphy’s family alerted the girl and Duquesne police of the message on Sept. 24. Police found Murphy at his grandmother’s house on Swallow Hill Road in Scott Township, police said.

Murphy was taken directly to jail because his actions violated a protection from abuse order, which was issued to the victim on Sept. 23.

Duquesne police received word of the threat at approximately 7:30 p.m., public safety director Tom Hart said. Hart said the first priority was to “protect the victim,” who lives in Brottier Hall.

Police worked with residence life officials to secure Brottier. The building was not on lockdown, Hart said, but the outside door was locked and there was an officer stationed in the lobby. Residents were still permitted to enter and leave the building.

“It was a veiled threat, not a specific threat toward campus or even the female involved,” Hart said. “The threat was so vague that we weren’t going to take any chances.”

After securing the building and victim, Duquesne police worked with Scott Township police to locate the suspect.

Police found Murphy’s location by talking to his family members, according to Duquesne spokeswoman Tammy Ewin. Scott Township police went to the house to ensure Murphy could not flee before Duquesne police arrived.

In emergency situations, Duquesne sends out a DU alert to students and faculty through text and e-mail messaging. No alert was sent the night of the threat.

“Duquesne’s Department of Public Safety was in the process of drafting a DU alert when confirmation of Mr. Murphy’s location was received,” Ewin said. “With his location secured, there was no longer an imminent threat.”

The suspect’s preliminary hearing is scheduled for Oct. 9.