Last week, Campus Security received reports of clown sightings on campus. Security was unable to find a suspect, but these reports were echoed around Tulsa and Oklahoma in general.
The first reported sighting at TU was October 4, at 11:23 pm, and the second was Oct. 5, at 8:15pm. The person reported seeing someone wearing a clown mask near sorority row. Officers searched the area but could not find the suspect.
Since a reported sighting in South Carolina in August, reports of sinister clowns have spread across the nation. In the original sighting in Greenville, N.C., the clown was reportedly attempting to lure children into the woods. Videos and reports of clowns standing menacingly in the distance or chasing people have circulated since then, although many of those have been dismissed as hoaxes. By the Sept. 29, 12 people around the country have been arrested for making false reports or threats, or chasing people in relation to this trend. Wednesday, however, demonstrated that this trend has not bypassed Tulsa.
On Thursday, Oct. 5, a Tulsa man reported being wounded by a “gothic clown” who attempted to take his bicycle. Police searched for the clown but were unsuccessful in locating the suspect. Another man called in a clown attack that same day. While walking his dog, the man said a clown grabbed him, hit him and wrestled him to the ground. The suspect was not found.
An anonymous Instagram account on Wednesday, Oct. 4, told students of Cherokee County public school district that their school would be “shot up” the next day. This threat, however, had been disseminated countrywide, and investigators later found the culprit to be a 12 year old girl at one of the area schools.
Tulsa Police department does advise the public against dressing as clowns this Halloween, for their own safety. Jeanne McKenzie, TPD Public Information Officer said in a Oct. 7 statement that “there is concealed and open carry, and people are fighting back when these people, these clowns are attacking them, so we don’t want this to escalate anymore.”
Oklahoma state statutes do prohibit the wearing of masks, hoods or other coverings that conceal the wearer’s identity during crimes or to coerce, intimidate or harass others. Conviction under this statute leads to a misdemeanor charge and either a fine or imprisonment in county jail.
Students are reminded to call Campus Security at 918-631-5555 if they observe any suspicious activity. TU “discourages inappropriate activities, even those not meant to cause harm, that might make others feel threatened.”