TWU students alarmed after Denton man's tirade and campus lockdown

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by DEBBIE DENMON

WFAA

Posted on March 1, 2011 at 6:51 PM

Updated Tuesday, Mar 1 at 9:02 PM

DENTON- All is calm at Texas Woman’s University, but that was not the case Tuesday morning in the Arts & Science building.

Christopher Alan Gillette, 30, is accused of making terroristic threats during a class. His alleged tirade alarmed the 25 students in the history class.

"He made sure to note that he’s ex-military and he has the training," said Colleen Hester, TWU student. "Something about how he wouldn’t hurt anyone on our campus, but that something needs to happen and he would hurt somebody."

Students in the class who witnessed his actions said he was close to shouting.

"I couldn’t see his face, he was facing the teacher," said Amanda Saye, TWU student. "It was pretty scary."

Witnesses said Gillette criticized the government for not compensating veterans. He complained of not being prescribed the right medication.

"He said he was in a lot of pain," Saye said. "He didn’t know if he needed to go to the hospital."

Dr. Paul Travis was teaching the history class and told Gillette he could leave. When the student left, the professor contacted police.

A text was immediately sent out instructing students to remain inside because campus was on lockdown. The university’s Pioneer Alert system was designed to send alerts to students, staff and parents in case of an emergency.

"I got chills," Hester said. "Once the cops came in and realized that, then you start thinking about things and you realize how severe it can be. This was the same kid who wanted to start a 911 truth movement."

Students said Gillette had gone on tirades before about the government, so they were relieved that he left campus to go to the Dallas Veterans Affairs Medical Center.

TWU police arrested him a short time later and charged him with making terroristic threats.

Some students want the location of the history class to change because they fear Gillette may return.

Gillette recently wrote a letter to U.S. Congressman Michael Burgess. Gillette stated his "grievance with the central government concerns a lack of proper medical care that I deserve due to honorable service to the nation". Gillette demanded that the government apologize to him, give him private medical care and compensate him for his pain and suffering. He ended the letter by saying if his demands were not meet he would begin to prepare offensive combat against the government.

This incident brings to mind the guns on campus bill which is currently being considered in the state legislature. The bill would allow professor and students over the age of 21 to carry a handgun on campus. They must have a concealed carry license.

Email: ddenmon@wfaa.com

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