CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- A student suspected of threatening to shoot up UNC Charlotte got out of jail and put students on alert.
“There was a sound in my exam today, and everyone like looked around, and that’s just kind of a shame that we have to be on alert like that,” said one student who asked not to be identified.
Matthew Saavedra, 20, was arrested by deputies in North Carolina Tuesday afternoon, according to school officials. Saavedra was charged with a Class 1 felony count of falsely reporting mass violence on an education property, according to a notification sent by UNCC.
The notification went on to say the arrest was for a warrant obtained by campus police and was related to the suspect's expression of ideations of gun violence on the school's campus.
"The student remains prohibited from coming onto campus. The university will continue to work with local, state and federal law enforcement officials in the ongoing investigation," UNCC said in its notification.
The former student was removed from UNC Charlotte after allegedly telling a doctor during a voluntary mental health evaluation at a hospital near his hometown of King, N.C. that he wanted to shoot up the university.
The mental health professional took that information to police who obtained a search warrant for the man's off-campus apartment. No guns or explosives were found, but warrants said police did find blueprints to university buildings and the university’s emergency response guide hanging on his wall.
Court documents also showed the student said he loves "watching humans getting killed" and could not wait to buy a gun and shoot the university up. The documents also revealed the man had been watching YouTube videos of Columbine and other school shootings, concluding “most school shooters are not successful, because they don't plan the attack.”
"I'm just trying to worry about my papers and my readings and not whether or not I should be fearing for my life," student Sarahan Moser said.
On Tuesday, UNCC’s Chief of Police spoke with NBC Charlotte about why Saavedra was released; he had no prior criminal record.
“To be honest with you this type of a case is not easy. It’s a tough situation and this is something that we face in America today,” said Chief Jeffrey Baker. “We have these threats that occur and there are not always clear lines of prosecution.”
Chief Baker said new laws are in needed, especially regarding cases of mental health. In the meantime, he said UNCC police will be patrolling campus 24/7, and the university has several emergency plans in place should they need them.
Chief Baker added the investigation has shown Saavedra has not made any prior attempts to purchase a weapon, and actions were taken to make sure he would be prevented from doing so. His name was put into the FBI’s National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS).
“So if he were to go to obtain a legal firearm, it would show that he’s involved in this current incident,” said Chief Baker.
Chief Baker said police in King, N.C. have kept in touch with both Saavedra and his mother and Saavedra is expected back in Mecklenburg County for his first court appearance.
Chief Baker added the investigation was not over. UNCC police were waiting on a search warrant for Saavedra’s laptop.