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Student Who Prompted CCSU Lockdown Apologizes, Says Incident Was Misunderstanding


NEW BRITAIN — A student still wearing his Halloween costume from the weekend caused alarm when he walked through Central Connecticut State University Monday, prompting a campus lockdown and a massive armed response from police.
After police sorted things out, student David Kyem apologized.
"I'm sorry for all the commotion and the fear and the confusion," said Kyem, 21, a senior from Newington. "I'm sorry for any problems. It's obviously a big misunderstanding."
Central police charged Kyem Monday night with breach of peace and released him after he posted $1,000 bail. He is the son of Central geography Professor Peter Kyem.
Kyem's costume, which included camouflage pants, a tactical vest, a mask and a plastic sword and handgun, caused alarm among some students, who called 911 and reported an armed man on campus at about noon.
Kyem said he wore his costume when he returned from a weekend at the University of Connecticut because he couldn't fit all of the costume pieces into his backpack. A friend dropped him off in downtown New Britain, he said, and he caught a bus to campus.
The trouble began on his walk from the bus stop to his dorm, James Hall.
"I could see a tactical vest — something I wore when I was on the SWAT team and in the Marine Corps," said Nicholas Federici, 28, a senior from Wethersfield, and a veteran and former police officer. "These vests have a place to put your handgun. I could clearly see where the holster was and there was a handle coming out consistent with a semiautomatic handgun."
Federici said he followed Kyem and used his cellphone to call 911. He trailed Kyem to James Hall, and just as he walked in, university and New Britain police began to arrive.
Kyem said he was he was trying to get back to his dorm room to change and then get to a business meeting when the lockdown was ordered. He said Monday night that he had no idea he was the one who had prompted it.
"My first thought was, 'Oh gosh, what's going on?' " he said.
About an hour into the lockdown, he said he got telephone calls from friends telling him they thought he was the person police were looking for.
"My friends started calling me and saying, 'Hey Dave, I think somebody got your Halloween costume confused with a gunman,' " he said.
Kyem said he and his roommates remained in their room until a New Britain police sergeant called him on his cellphone "and gave me and my roommates directions to come out." They were taken into custody.
Police did not identify the two roommates and on Monday night did not say anyone but Kyem had been charged.
Kyem said his costume was supposed to be the character Snake Eyes from the G.I. Joe movies and toys, and included a tactical vest, camouflage pants, boots, a hat, a wind-resistant mask, goggles, a sword and a gun.
"They're all fake," he said.
His mother, Olivia Kyem, reached Monday night, said the campus incident was "a Halloween costume gone bad" and said her son is a God-fearing young man who means no one harm.
"I know my son very, very well," she said. "It's a big misunderstanding."
Some of Kyem's friends backed him up, hours before he was formally identified.