A police officer accidentally fired his gun after a search for a Muslim who was allegedly armed inside a library building at the University of Central Florida (UCF) in Orlando April 27 (video below).
UCF Police Chief Richard Beary said the search began after a Facebook posting stated: "I was with ... in the stairwell and we saw the girl," notes Click Orlando.
Beary added that there were 911 calls about the girl. The calls, which were released by the police and are hosted on Soundcloud, mostly came from college girls referring to rumors on a sorority Facebook page, rumors from their friends, rumors from family members, rumors from text messages, and a witness who allegedly saw a nervous Muslim girl in a library stairwell.
Beary said that an alert text was sent to all the students: "*UCF ALERT**UCF ALERT* POSSIBLE MIDDLE EASTERN GUN MAN/WOMAN IN UCF MAIN CAMPUS LIBRARY. AVOID THE AREA!"
"Although it may have been offensive, it was not intended that way," Beary added.
A SWAT team swarmed the college campus with assault rifles and evacuated the library, but there was no armed woman or man.
After police cleared the library, an unidentified cop accidentally fired his rifle and the bullet hit the roof of his vehicle, according to Beary.
The text alert about the allegedly armed Middle Eastern person, who was likely a Muslim woman praying with a Qu'ran and wearing hijab, has offended some.
"Identifying someone's ethnicity, but not being able to identify their gender, seems kind of strange to me," UCF student Maha Qureshi told WESH.
"Just assuming that she would have a gun because she was praying how Muslims pray, it seemed like she made that connection," Qureshi added.
UCF student Anthony Scotto recalled seeing the Muslim student: "I saw her praying in the hallway and I didn't really think anything of it. I was there for two hours while she was sitting a cubicle in front of me and she didn't do anything weird."
"I just think that the fact there is still social profiling going on, especially in the 21st century, it's kind of just disappointing to see," Scotto stated.
The Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR) has called on the police to investigate the person who made the original social media posting and review the police decision to describe the suspect in the vague text alert as Middle Eastern.
"We’re just questioning why there was kind of a slip up today, and really a careless, careless series of events that happened," Rasha Mubarak, of CAIR, told WFTS.