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Connecticut man charged in Yale hoax threat

Wednesday - 4/23/2014, 6:00pm  ET

NEW HAVEN, Conn. (AP) -- A Connecticut man has been charged with making a call during the Thanksgiving holidays in which he falsely claimed an armed man was on the way to shoot up Yale University, police said Wednesday.

Jeffrey Jones, 50, of Westbrook, has been charged with falsely reporting an incident, threatening, reckless endangerment, misuse of the emergency 911 system and breach of peace, police said.

A message left with a public defender wasn't immediately returned. A person who answered a number believed to be for his mother's home declined comment.

A 911 call was received Nov. 25 from a man at a pay phone about a mile from campus who said his roommate was on the way to the university to shoot people. The call prompted a six-hour campus lockdown and a room-by-room search by SWAT teams. No one was injured. Classes weren't in session at the time, but police said many students were still in their dorm rooms.

Police blocked off several streets near the Ivy League university's Old Campus, in the heart of New Haven, and several local schools also were placed in lockdown. The response included several police departments, the FBI and other federal agencies, police said.

The Yale hoax occurred on the same day as prosecutors released an official report on the 2012 mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, in which 20 children and six educators were killed.

Surveillance footage of the man believed to have made the call showed he walked with a distinctive gait. On Dec. 6, detectives spotted a man matching the suspect's description who walked with a similar gait who identified himself as Jones, police said.

Jones referred to the Newtown school shooting, saying "all those kids died in Newtown. You're not doing (expletive) about that," police said.

Police said they obtained a voice recording of Jones with his attorney present that matched that of the person who made the 911 call.

Jones was being held on $250,000 bond after his arraignment Wednesday in New Haven Superior Court. He did not enter a plea.

Jones was also charged in January with criminal attempt to commit criminal mischief after police said he placed nails under the tires of police cruisers and personal vehicles owned by police officers.

The November call came several weeks after a scare on another Connecticut campus. Central Connecticut State University was in lockdown for several hours Nov. 4 after reports by witnesses of a masked man carrying a gun or sword, which turned out to be a student wearing a ninja-like Halloween costume.


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