25-year-old charged with threatening students in Amory building with fake gun

The man has been charged and will appear in court next week

The 25-year-old who threatened students in the Amory building with a fake gun yesterday has been charged.

The gun brandished by Yihe Xiong was confirmed to be a fake by Devon and Cornwall Police.

Xiong has been charged with possession of an imitation firearm with intent to cause fear of violence, and is due to appear in court on Thursday morning next week.

Yesterday, Armed officers "stormed" into the building at about 11:30am following reports of a man "making threats to other students, whilst in possession of a handgun."

The building was evacuated. Devon and Cornwall Police seized a bag containing a weapon, which they said was "not believed to be a viable firearm.

Police examination revealed the gun was a metal replica or a blank-firing handgun. It was not loaded.

Eye witnesses described seeing police armed with guns and riot shields. Others reported seeing a man being led away in handcuffs.

One student said: "At about 12.20pm there were police with guns and riot shields outside the Amory building.

"The Old Library, Reed Hall, the Innovation Centre and Business School were on lockdown.

"The Amory was evacuated but the forum was not affected at all."

Others said students had to be removed from exams, saying: "I was in the cafe but some people were still in the exam because they had extra time, so they were pulled out.

"I saw the police with their AK47s and I also saw the police dogs.

"The police were amazing, they were here in seconds.

"They took the guy out and then debriefed us."

A spokesperson for the University said the building had been closed "for a short period of time" while the incident "was dealt with swiftly and effectively."

Campus was opened shortly afterwards, and no one was injured.

Superintendent Matt Lawler said: "I would like to reiterate our thanks to the university, its staff and students for their calm response and their assistance with our investigation."

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