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NYPD Cadet Tackles Man Carrying Rifle at St. Johns University

September 27, 2007  | 

NYPD cadet Christopher Benson acted quickly yesterday to stop a potential campus shooter from opening fire.

Benson, a criminal justice major at St. Johns University, saw a fellow student walk past him wearing a Fred Flintstone mask and carrying a rifle.

“I was on the phone with my girlfriend [when I saw him],” Benson told the New York Daily News. “I said, ‘let me call you back. A guy just walked past me with a gun. Let me check this out.’”

Benson followed the suspect to the second floor of a campus building.

Campus security had also been alerted to the presence of the man carrying a large rifle. Dan Boylan, a retired police officer, responded and found himself face to face with the man in the mask.
Boylan says he grabbed the masked man’s rifle and a struggle ensued. Benson came to Boylan’s aid and threw the suspect against the wall.

During the incident, university officials initiated a campus wide lockdown with a new emergency notification system that they implemented after the Virginia Tech Massacre.

The suspect identified as Omesh Hiraman, 22, is a dropout from Cornell University who was taking classes at St. Johns. Police sources told the Daily News that the young man had psychiatric problems. 

The rifle that he was carrying was a .50 caliber black powder muzzle-loader. It was loaded.

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