UTICA — Dave and Debra Sampson were in a driver’s education class at Mohawk Valley Community College on Saturday morning when a fellow student announced a text alert warning about a possible gunman on campus.

"We called campus security and they said stay in place," Dave Sampson said. "We locked the door, put stuff in front of the door, and kind of just stayed there and waited."

"Everyone stayed calm," Debra Sampson added. "It was short-lived."

The situation unfolded at about 9:30 a.m. after the Utica Police Department was dispatched to assist the Oneida County Sheriff Office in attempting to find a suicidal subject armed with a handgun and believed to be in the Utica area, city police said.

The subject’s vehicle eventually was found unoccupied in a parking lot at MVCC, resulting in the students receiving a text message just before 11:15 a.m. advising them to shelter in place due to a possible armed gunman on campus.

About 10 minutes later, students received another text message stating — "All Clear. The suspect is in custody. All Clear" — after he was found in the parking lot of Family Dollar on Culver Avenue and taken into custody without incident, police said. Authorities were not releasing his name.

"I normally live (in the) dorms," said student Andy Piseck, who was at a friend’s apartment when he got the text alert. "We were going to come in and eat breakfast with our meals plans."

Student LeeAnn Paolini was driving to campus to do homework when she got the alert. She thought that it might have been a joke, but she confirmed the alert when she saw officers on campus.

"All of our concern now is whether there’s a second person out there with this individual because now we’re afraid to go out there and do our homework," Paolini said at the time.

While the suspect was unarmed when he was taken into custody, authorities said they did retrieve a handgun from his vehicle after breaking the windows and gaining access inside.

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He was transported to a local hospital for a mental health evaluation, police said.

This investigation is ongoing, and no one was hurt in the event, officials said.

No threats of violence were made to the MVCC campus or to any civilian population, police added.

The alert lifted quickly, but its impact on the campus was still apparent after everything was cleared.

"We’re hesitant to stay, especially after what happened with Utica College several months ago," Paolini said. "It’s interfering with (our) education and (our) life."

Contact reporter Joseph Labernik at 315-792-4995 or follow him on Twitter (@OD_Labernik).