Austin | Dallas | Houston
Oblivious to uproar

How a barcode scanner was mistaken for a gun: Details on the false alarm UH campus "gunman"

Enlarge
Image
barcode gun, pistol, gun, University of Houston
While UH's suspect wasn't armed, he was fully prepared to scan merchandise. Photo illustration by Jan-Pieter Zuiderveen

A man armed with a barcode scanner single-handedly almost shut down the University of Houston campus Tuesday afternoon.

Students and faculty were thrown into a state of panic just after noon, when a text went out through the university's emergency warning system, reporting a man with a handgun near the central quad.

After putting the campus on lockdown for nearly 30 minutes, university authorities canceled the alert via text, noting that the man was identified and that there was no gun.

And what was this mysterious fellow carrying after all? A run-of-the-mill barcode scanner.

A campus spokesperson tells KPRC Eyewitness News that the suspect was unaware he set off the alarm system . . . Poor guy.

University of Houston officials did not return repeated requests for further comment.

Newsletters for exploring your city

Daily Digest

Houston news, views + events

The Dining Report

News you can eat

Insider Offers

Curated experiences at exclusive prices

Promo Alerts

Special offers + exclusive deals

We will not share or sell your email address