SOU movie shoot draws APD response

Ashland police responded to a report that two armed suspects had entered a Southern Oregon University building Friday morning, only to learn later that the incident was part of a class movie shoot.

At 10:55 a.m., someone called 9-1-1 from a cell phone on campus to report that two armed suspects had entered the Rogue Valley Television station at SOU and "yelled for everyone to get on the floor," Ashland Police Chief Terry Holderness said.

Seven officers — the entire on-duty Ashland police force — responded within minutes, he said.

"We responded assuming we had a major incident," Holderness said. "All of the detectives ran out of their offices and went down there."

Police set up a perimeter around the building and tried for about 20 minutes to establish contact with someone inside.

At 11:19 a.m., someone walked out of the building and told police that the incident was part of a film shoot for the Video Productions class.

The students were filming an armed robbery scene, using black ski masks and a fake Uzi submachine gun and sawed-off shotgun.

"It was dangerous because we had no way of knowing it wasn't real," Holderness said. "If a student would have walked out with a ski mask and what looked like an Uzi or a sawed-off shotgun, we could have had a very bad incident."

No one was injured in the incident, which taxed police resources for about an hour.

After officers determined the situation was part of a movie shoot, they spoke with the professor, Howard Schreiber.

"The lieutenant had a discussion with the professor about why (the movie shoot) wasn't a good idea," Holderness said.

Schreiber, a senior instructor in the communcations department, did not immediately return calls seeking comment.

Campus public safety officials are checking to see if Schreiber violated any of the university's policies, he said.

Sylvia Kelley, vice president of development at SOU, said the university is taking the incident seriously. She declined to comment on whether Schreiber will face discipline.

"We're absolutely committed to taking a careful look at this and how it happened," she said.

SOU officials will consult with police about how to avoid similar events in the future, she said.

Schreiber should have notified police and campus public safety officials about the movie shoot and posted large signs around the RVTV building that read, "movie shoot in progress," Holderness said.

"They should not have staged that kind of shoot without the proper notification and signage," he said. "We're really relieved because we could have had a dangerous kind of result very easily."

Contact staff writer Hannah Guzik at 482-3456 ext. 226 or

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