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UPDATE: Columbia police arrest man for making terrorist threat at MACC

UPDATE: 4:30 p.m., 12/15: ABC 17 News spoke with MACC President Dr. Jeff Lashley about Thursday’s threat.

Lashley said the student, Anthony Bedford, allegedly made a threat to MACC staff.

“Once we became aware of the situation, we thought our best decision at that point was to go ahead and evacuate the campus and call the police department to make sure that we had a safe situation,” Lashley said.

The school used their “House Mail” alert system to notify students, faculty and staff of the situation.

Officials haven’t elaborated on the nature of the threat but Lashley said it was not a bomb threat.

“The statement was … something that could have, had the person followed through on the statement, it would have been something that would have been a terrible event for the campus community,” Lashley said.

Lashley emphasized they take any type of threat seriously.

“You never know whether a threat is credible or not,” Lashley said. “Sometimes people say things in the heat of the moment and don’t necessarily intend them. Some people say things and intend to follow up.”

Lashley said faculty and staff at all MACC campuses do annual ALICE training. ALICE stands for alert, lockdown, inform, counter and evacuate.

“The ALICE training essentially trains us how to respond in the event of an active shooter situation or another kind of intruder situation,” Lashley said.

MACC also has a crisis committee to work through policies and potential threats.

“We do tabletop exercises,” Lashley said. “We have prepared emails to go out on our alert system trying to anticipate different scenarios. We have the same kind of thing with our webpage. We try to anticipate as many things as we can. We run through drills frequently. We have had active-shooter drills at every one of our campus locations and at that point employ the ALICE training. We do everything we can to be prepared for a situation.”

MACC has had a threat in the past.

“Fortunately, most importantly, we’ve never had any actual act of violence occur or any kind of threat to the community that’s come to fruition,” Lashley said. “But we are always going to take anything that we become aware of, we’re going to treat it very seriously.”

UPDATE 8:15 a.m, 12/15.: Columbia police arrested Anthony Jason Bedford in reference to the MACC threat Thursday afternoon.

According to police, officers were sent to Moberly Area Community College at 4 p.m. for a suspicious incident.

The investigation reveal a man had been upset while speaking with staff and made a threat before leaving the area.

The building was evacuated at 4:22. It was later determined there was no active threat.

Bedford was arrested at 12:38 a.m. at 1 Hospital Drive for making a terrorist threat in the second degree.

UPDATE 5:10 pm: Columbia police said the preliminary investigation revealed a man was upset while speaking with staff and made a threat before leaving the area.

Officers canvassed the area and determined there was not an active threat.

The college said the building will be closed on for the rest of the evening and final exams will be rescheduled.

UPDATE 4:55 pm: MACC president Dr. Jeff Lashley said that a threat was made the we decided we needed to treat seriously.

Lashley said he was unsure if the building would reopen on Thursday night and the school will work to figure out the best way to proceed with finals that may have been affected by this.

Columbia police are currently investigating the threat.

UPDATE 4:30 pm: ABC 17 crews spoke with students who confirm they were evacuated for a bomb threat in the middle of their final exams.

ORIGINAL STORY: The Moberly Area Community College reported a threat on the Columbia campus on Thursday afternoon.

School officials asked anyone in the building to evacuate it immediately.

Officials also said more information will be provided as soon as possible.

ABC 17 has crews on scene to get more information about the threat.

Stay with this story for the latest information.

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