Student Shoots Roommate at Western Illinois University, Sparks Police Hunt

A massive police hunt is underway after a Western Illinois University student was shot by his roommate in Thompson Hall before fleeing the scene, university officials said.

The drama unfolded at around 10:40 p.m. on Tuesday sparking the immediate evacuation of the student building when someone triggered the fire alarm.

Medics scrambled to the scene and the injured student was rushed to McDonough District Hospital in Macomb.

TV station WGEM reported that upon arrival, police scoured the campus but were unable to find the suspected gunman who university officials have now named as 18-year-old freshman Kavion Poplous. The suspect is understood to be the roommate of the injured man.

Local media said Poplous is considered armed and dangerous, and the university has sent text alerts to its students warning them to be vigilant.

Darcie Shinberger, spokesperson at Western Illinois University, spoke to WGEM and dismissed reports of an active shooter, saying it was an incident involving two roommates and no other students were injured.

She said: "We believe there were no other students targeted and it appears to be a dispute between roommates. Both the individuals involved are students.

"There were no other injuries. The student was taken by ambulance to our local hospital. The police have identified a suspect and are searching for him now."

Shinberger said Thompson Hall's fire alarm triggered an evacuation and students living there were relocated.

She said: "We have people there with our students. We have members of our university counseling center who will be coming in and students have housing officers with them.

"At this stage I don't know when they'll be allowed back into the dorm. We're obviously taking calls from parents."

Shinberger added that she did not have further details about the student's injuries or his current condition.

She said: "We will be sending updates to the university website when available."

Police urged people to follow instructions from officers and if stopped, to make sure their hands are in plain view.

The university told local media an alert about the incident was sent out via email, phone calls and texts through its emergency alert system stating that: "At the time of this alert, do not assume this is the current location.

"The Office of Public Safety is responding. Follow all instructions from police and if stopped by police, ensure hands are in plain view."

Thompson Hall is on the Macomb campus and it is unclear at this stage if class will be held on Wednesday.

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(File photo) A blurred police car in the background behind yellow crime scene tape. Police are investigating after a student was shot at Western Illinois University. iStock