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Man's behavior frightens UMD students

A 36-year-old Duluth man, who later was found to have a wooden stick and a leather whip, was removed from a University of Minnesota Duluth lecture hall after concerned students called police Wednesday morning.

A 36-year-old Duluth man, who later was found to have a wooden stick and a leather whip, was removed from a University of Minnesota Duluth lecture hall after concerned students called police Wednesday morning.

The man was not a class member and made some students nervous by moving from seat to seat and eventually sitting in an aisle, staring down the assistant professor teaching the class.

The man's identity is being withheld until a formal charge of disorderly conduct is filed. He is being held in the St. Louis County Jail.

In 2006, the same man was charged with four counts of second-degree assault with a dangerous weapon but was acquitted because of mental incompetency after a mental health evaluation at the state security hospital in St. Peter, Minn.

The man showed up in a morning class of about 130 students. Assistant Professor Pedro Albuquerque was teaching his Principles of Macroeconomics class about 9:15 a.m. when he noticed a man he didn't recognize as a student staring at him in a way that caught his attention.

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"Basically, I could not take my eyes off of him," Albuquerque said. The professor said he thought about stepping out of class and calling the police, but he didn't want to trigger any violent behavior.

At least two women in the large, dimly-lit lecture hall also were paying attention to the man, and they called police, according to a UMD campuswide e-mail about the incident.

The women left the lecture hall and went upstairs to an office to call police, said Lt. Anne Peterson, director of UMD campus police.

The man was wearing sunglasses and a leather jacket, dressed mostly in black, said Albuquerque, who requires eyeglasses but was not wearing them at the time of the incident. The man moved around the back of the room and appeared to Albuquerque to sit down at a desk.

"He was someone that, for sure, I've never seen on campus," Albuquerque said, adding "not that I've seen him doing anything wrong."

When police arrested the man, it was "extremely fast. He was surprised. I was surprised," Albuquerque said. The man did not say anything that Albuquerque could hear from the front of the lecture hall, until he was arrested.

The whole episode took about 10 minutes.

Peterson said officers believed the man was wearing motorcycle gang colors on his leather jacket. He had long, curly hair and a beard.

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"I think the students were just a little bit concerned, bordering on fearful," Peterson said. "I think it has a lot to do with the recent incident at Northern Illinois [University] and rightly so."

Peterson said the man had no apparent political message and nothing in particular to say. He was not aggressive toward students, she said. He did not display the 6- to 8-inch martial-arts stick or the whip.

He became agitated when Peterson and one of her officers and four Duluth city police officers took him into custody. Force was needed to take him to the ground and apply handcuffs.

Campus police told Fox 21 News they had been notified of a person fitting this man's description twice, once Tuesday afternoon and again about 7 a.m. Wednesday.

The man was first taken to St. Luke's hospital for evaluation and then transported to the St. Louis County Jail.

"With the climate on college campuses today, we just can't take any chances," Peterson said. "We have to treat it seriously. We appreciate the actions of the students who brought this to our attention. And we are very appreciative of the backup help we received from city police."

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