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The Daily Utah Chronicle

The University of Utah's Independent Student Voice

The Daily Utah Chronicle

The University of Utah's Independent Student Voice

The Daily Utah Chronicle

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Arrested student no longer ‘a threat’

By Ana Breton

U officials are providing few details regarding the student who was arrested after damaging a peer’s property and exhibiting behavior that some students said was threatening last week.

Lawrence Wright, a second-year architecture student, was taken into custody and questioned by police after showing dangerous behavior and spraypainting a student’s desk on Friday. Fred Esplin, vice president for institutional advancement, declined to comment on whether Wright was released from custody but said the student is no longer “a threat to the community.”

“This student is now in a safe, secure place where he is not a threat to himself or others,” Esplin said. “We are working very close with the person’s family and law enforcement to resolve issues at hand.”

In addition, Capt. Lynn Mitchell at the U Police Department said what Wright wrote on a fellow student’s desk in the Architecture Building was not a threat.

Wright spraypainted “If you beat (name of a female acquaintance) again, there’s no telling what I’ll do!” and “I’d run (name of the targeted male)” on a student’s desk and two adjacent poster boards, according to the police report.

“He made no threats to anyone,” Mitchell said. “It can be interpreted as a threat, but is it really a threat?”

Esplin said he didn’t know the motivation behind the spraypainted messages.

“There’s none that I know of,” Esplin said. “But it’s clear (that Wright was) very emotionally distraught. If there’s a cause behind it, I don’t know.”

Furthermore, Esplin said there “was not a gun involved” during the ordeal, during which students saw Wright walk in and out of the building and called police, who unsuccessfully chased him.

However, Esplin said that during an interview with police, Wright said he had bought a gun, a purchase which Mitchell said took place on Monday. The gun, however, was kept in a storage unit in Orem, Esplin said.

“He didn’t have (guns) on him or in his car,” Esplin said.

No charges have been filed.

“We’re working with him and (his) family, trying to make sure (the) whole situation is taken care of,” Mitchell said.

The College of Architecture and Planning cancelled classes and closed its building last Thursday and Friday after students saw Wright walking in and out of the Architecture Building, looking into windows and spraypainting a desk.

Police were called in on Friday morning but lost him after a brief foot chase. Wright then took refuge in a classroom in the Social and Behavioral Science building where a student, who was a relative of another student in the architecture program, recognized him and called police.

Officers arrested and took Wright into custody.

He was not enrolled in the class at the Social Science Building and had not been seen in any of his own classes for about a week.

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