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UVA Wise Student Facing Federal Charges

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ABINGDON, Va. (AP) - A University of Virginia at Wise student accused of falsely reporting a gunman on campus is facing federal charges.

Bryant Alexander Hairston is charged in a criminal complaint with knowingly making false, fictitious and fraudulent statements and representations. Federal authorities filed the complaint Monday in U.S. District Court in Abingdon.

The university's police department charged the 20-year-old Martinsville resident last week with falsely summoning law enforcement officials.

Hairston is accused of calling 911 shortly before 9 p.m. on Jan. 23 and reporting that he had seen a gunman on campus. The call prompted university officials to place the school on lockdown.

There was no telephone listing for Hairston in Wise and Martinsville.

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Department of Justice
Press Release

ABINDGON, VIRGINIA -- The University of Virginia at Wise student who contacted authorities last week and allegedly lied about seeing an armed man on campus has been arrested and charged in a federal criminal complaint.

Bryant Alexander Hairston, 20, of Martinsville, Va., was charged today in a criminal complaint with one count of knowingly making false, fictitious and fraudulent statements and representations.

According to the criminal complaint, filed in U.S. District Court today, a 911 call was placed on January 23, 2013 and Hairston reported seeing a man on campus with a gun and wearing a face mask. He went on to describe the outfit the man was wearing, his location on the campus and that he was holding a pistol. As a result of Hairston's statement, the UVA-Wise campus was placed on lock-down status. The complaint also states that Hairston later admitted to lying about the information given to 911.

The investigation is being conducted by the Virginia State Police, the Wise Police Department, the Wise County Sheriff's Office, the Pound Police Department, the Coeburn Police Department, UVA Wise Police Department and the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Assistant United States Attorney Randy Ramseyer will prosecute the case for the United States.

A criminal complaint is only a charge and not evidence of guilt. The defendant is entitled to a fair trial with the burden on the government to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.

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