University of Massachusetts fraternity member arrested after climbing on roof with BB gun
AMHERST — A report of a man with a rifle on the roof of a University of Massachusetts fraternity Thursday brought a strong police response, but the weapon was a BB gun and he did not appear to be shooting at people, police said.
About eight Amherst police officers responded to Phi Sigma Kappa fraternity at 510 North Pleasant St., near the Newman Center, after receiving a report from a witness at 2:01 p.m. Thursday. They were joined by about six University of Massachusetts officers, said Amherst Police Lt. Ronald Young.
The officers had formed a perimeter around the building when a man matching the description of a witness appeared, Young said. After officers questioned him, he led police inside and showed them the firearm, which was a BB gun, he said.
The suspect was identified as William Christopher Lewis, 19, of Doylestown, Pa., and is a member of the fraternity, Young said. He was placed under arrest and charged with disorderly conduct and possession of a dangerous weapon while committing a breach of the peace, police said.
The incident remained under investigation Friday. Young said he believes Lewis did fire the gun, and one witness heard the gun go off, but no one was injured and he doesn’t believe that Lewis was firing at people.
He declined to speculate on the motivation. “I don’t know what caused him to do it,” Young said.
Lewis was not intoxicated, and did not need a permit to possess the BB gun, Young said. The incident took place on town property, and if it had been on campus property Lewis would have faced additional charges, he said.