Authorities: Man brought concealed gun to Elmhurst College while visiting daughter

Updated 10/31/2019 1:40 PM

A man who was carrying a concealed handgun while visiting his daughter at Elmhurst College has been charged with violating the state's concealed carry act, authorities said.

The arrest around 7 p.m. Tuesday of Robert F. Ratliff, 48, of the 7N900 block of Phar lap Drive in St. Charles, came the evening before the campus was to reopen following a two-day closure to investigate a string of at least five hateful or threatening messages found in three campus buildings.


The college, in a message on its website, said Ratliff's arrest posed no threat to students and came with no apparent connection to other "recent incidents on campus." Police did not immediately confirm or deny if there is a connection.

Elmhurst police said Ratliff carried a concealed handgun as he entered a college-owned apartment dormitory in a weapon-free zone. Police said Ratliff had a valid permit for the weapon and was taken into custody without incident. He has been charged with carrying a concealed firearm in a prohibited area.

During the response to a report of a person possibly carrying a gun, the college said police sent two alerts to the campus, one notifying the community of police activity and the second, four minutes later, giving the all-clear.

Classes resumed Wednesday at the private school serving roughly 3,500 students near downtown Elmhurst. Officials said the mood was mixed as an investigation into the messages of vandalism continues. A heightened security presence is expected to be visible on campus through the end of the week.

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