A United States Marine prompted a University of Maryland police mass shooter alert on Thursday after students saw him carrying a rubber rifle. The rifle is used for ROTC training and was incapable of firing.“The rubber rifle did not pose a threat,” police said in a statement. “This type of weapon is incapable of being fired.”The Marine is a noncommissioned officer assigned to the Naval ROTC program at the University of Maryland.The students who witnessed the Marine walking around believed that he was carrying an AR-15 style weapon. Rubber rifles are generally shaped like the military’s M16 service weapon, which is what the AR-15 is based on.Security camera footage showed the Marine leaving campus in a vehicle.
Rubber Rifle Caused Confusion Among College Kids
The commander of the Naval ROTC program informed police that the Marine was most likely an ROTC member after the students reported him to the campus police. The commander then called the Marine and asked him to return to campus, which resolved the issue.He did not commit a crime and will not face any charges. The Marine was not arrested or detained, and will not be identified.The chief of University of Maryland police spoke with ROTC commanders about improving the transportation of the program’s rifles.In March, another professor at the University of North Dakota called 911 after witnessing ROTC candidates practicing with simulated rifles, also believing there was a mass shooter on campus.“There is no (expletive) reason why I should have to be terrorized like this, to look up and see gunman on the quad and dive under my desk thinking that perhaps we're under attack or something,” said the professor in North Dakota on a voicemail left for ROTC officials.Rubber rifles are used in the military during close quarters combat, ruck marches and drill and ceremony. They are often used in place of regular weapons when drawing out a rifle would be too time-consuming or difficult to do, or when a rubber rifle makes a fine substitute, such as during room clearing.