Nathaniel Rosenberg, Contributing Photographer

Early Tuesday morning, students living in Bingham Hall were woken up by police officers responding to what police have since confirmed as false reports of an armed student in the building and a potential bomb threat. The Yale Police Department, the New Haven Police Department, and the FBI are now working to identify the caller or callers. 

In an update sent to students at 11:48 a.m. on Tuesday, YPD Chief Anthony Campbell wrote that the YPD had not determined any immediate threats to campus. In the Tuesday update, Campbell defined the incident as a “swatting,” or false report, made to Yale police. According to the statement, at 12:16 a.m. on Tuesday, YPD received a call from an unknown male stating they had “seriously harmed” a female student and believed that she may be deceased. The caller claimed to possess a knife and hunting rifle with intent to harm others. 

“There were calls into Yale PD regarding a student who may have committed a crime,” New Haven Police Chief Karl Jacobson told the News early Tuesday morning. “Yale PD and NHPD reacted to that. It appears that they were false calls… There is no immediate threat.” 

The caller also told officers that he was near Bingham Hall, the Old Campus dormitory occupied by students in Grace Hopper and Trumbull Colleges, and said that he would shoot police who tried to enter his location. According to the Tuesday update, the caller used numerous racial slurs directed at Black officers, threatening to “harm the officer he was speaking to if he found out he was Black.”

Yale Police were immediately dispatched to secure the perimeter of Old Campus. New Haven police officers stationed at Old Campus Gates instructed students not to enter while numerous police cars shut down the blocks of College and Chapel Streets surrounding Old Campus.

According to the Tuesday morning announcement, the caller told officers at 12:34 a.m. that he was in a dorm room inside of Bingham Hall. YPD was unable to determine the phone’s location and concluded that it was a burner phone. Police continued to remain in contact with the caller every 10 to 15 minutes, with the caller telling officers that he was familiar with Bingham Hall’s floorplan and claimed to have placed a bomb in a basement bathroom. 

At 12:56 a.m., a Yale Alert directed students on Old Campus to shelter in place while police responded to an incident in the area. The alert advised all others to avoid the area while police investigated. 

NHPD and YPD bomb squads cleared Bingham Hall and also searched stairwells, floors and open doors in the dorm. Three students living in Bingham Hall confirmed to the News that heavily armed police swept the dormitory, knocking on doors to determine that all students were in their rooms. The students described being concerned about the sudden appearance of police in their rooms and the lack of information provided by authorities. 

“I’m not entirely sure what’s happening and I didn’t know what was happening when the cops came in,”  Fardouza Farah ‘26 said early Tuesday morning. “I woke up to it and it was very abrupt. I don’t think at any point that I knew what was going on.”

According to the Tuesday update, conflicting information provided by the caller led police to believe that the call was a swatting. A second Yale Alert sent at 2:30 a.m. announced that police were investigating “what they believe to be a false report from an individual threatening harm on Old Campus.” The alert directed students to continue sheltering in place as police continued investigating out of an abundance of caution, reviewing card swipes and surveillance footage of the area. 

At 2:45 a.m.,the caller told YPD that he would begin shooting in eight minutes, according to the Tuesday update.  Armed officers were positioned on each floor of Bingham hall and YPD continued to investigate until 3 a.m., when police sent out an “all clear” alert. 

After the “all clear” was given, what police believe to be another caller from the same number called to report a shirtless white man running with a wooden rifle in the Harkness hallways, according to the Tuesday update. Dispatched officers found no suspicious activity.  

Bingham Hall is located at 300 College street.

This is a developing story and will be updated.

Nathaniel Rosenberg is City Editor for the News. He previously served as Audience Editor, where he managed the News's newsletter content, covered cops and courts and housing and homelessness for the City Desk. Originally from Silver Spring, MD, he is a junior in Morse College majoring in history.
Yash Roy covered City Hall and State Politics for the News. He also served as a Production & Design editor, and Diversity, Equity & Inclusion chair for the News. Originally from Princeton, New Jersey, he is a '25 in Timothy Dwight College majoring in Global Affairs.