Lehigh University student charged after incident with loaded gun near campus
Lehigh University police charged a student with aggravated assault after he fought with an officer and had a loaded handgun and knife near campus Monday.
Nile Hardy, 23, of Newtown Square, Delaware County, is also charged with simple assault, disorderly conduct, resisting arrest and harassment. Hardy has not yet been arraigned on the charges, according to authorities.
Police say Hardy was armed with a loaded handgun and a knife and acting erratically near Farrington Square, a popular gathering area on the north side of the campus in south Bethlehem that is home to several restaurants and the campus bookstore.
According to court records: Authorities say shortly after noon Monday, university police Officer David Kokinda was driving on West Morton Street when he saw a man, identified as Hardy, yelling on the side of the street.
Another officer stopped to see what was going on, and they said Hardy “continued to yell,” but moved to the sidewalk and continued walking.
Police say Hardy began banging on the glass driver side door of an occupied vehicle.
Hardy yelled at the officers to “kill him” and tried to punch the officers several times. Police say he hit Kokinda’s hand during the struggle.
Police say they found a loaded semi-automatic handgun as well as a kitchen knife inside Hardy’s backpack.
According to Lehigh University student records, Hardy is a graduate student studying finance.
School officials said they had been alerted earlier about a student displaying worrisome behavior and were on their way to his residence when they witnessed the disturbance.
Hardy was taken to a hospital for a psychiatric evaluation, school officials say. He is on interim suspension and not permitted on the Lehigh campus.
Lehigh University police Chief Jason Schiffer addressed the arrest in an email sent to the campus on Tuesday.
In it, Schiffer wrote that there were “some concerns” that the arrest had not been reported as an active shooter nor had the campus be placed on lockdown.
“This incident — as frightening and unsettling as it was — was not an active shooter situation,” the email states. “The student was not brandishing a weapon. LUPD officers did not know he had one in his possession when they encountered him on the street, and the situation was quickly contained.”
Police say that in case of an “imminent, severe” threat to campus safety, Lehigh police will share information through alerts and classroom announcement systems.
Morning Call reporter Pamela Lehman can be reached at 610-820-6790 or [email protected]