Updated: Wednesday, 04 Mar 2009, 11:35 PM EST
Published : Wednesday, 04 Mar 2009, 1:38 PM EST
GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) - A man who applied to Kendall College returned the next day and caused a scene that led to the evacuation of the building and some downtown streets being closed for a short time. (video of the event is below)
According to Kendall officials, Josiah Curtis, 21, applied on Tuesday to become a student. On Wednesday, dressed in a leotard-type outfit, he brought a wooden sculpture, a fanny pack and a bag of pill bottles, and began dropping some of the items. He then sprayed a can of aerosol in the entry way of the building, began to undress, and then left.
He came back to the building and began acting irrationally, and once again fled after he dropped his fanny pack.
Vice Chancellor Sandra Davison-Wilson pulled the fire alarm to evacuate the building and called 911 to deal with the contents of the fanny pack. Police and a bomb squad arrived at the scene.
Curtis then went outside walked up and down the street, yelling out loud and even jumped into a trash can to sing a rap-like rant. He was taken into custody a short time later on Ionia Avenue near Fulton Street, approximately a block from the school.
Police searched Curtis' vehicle, which was parked on the street outside the school, and then impounded it.
No explosives were found in the building, police cleared the scene, and the students were allowed back in class.
Jason Ross, admissions officer from Kendall College, says, "I have concerns about security here...just the fact that we're an urban campus and we're only able to hire limited security people raises concerns.
"We only have one or two security people at night and nobody during the day. Sometimes we're open until midnight or later and we only have a student at the front desk. Many times it's a female student, and while the security guard is patrolling the school she could be left alone until 2 a.m.
"I was part of a group of people that was confronted by the individual with the aerosol can (Tuesday) after we had been evacuated. This time it was a spray can but it could have been a gun. It took about 15 minutes for the police to respond and we're only two blocks from the police station. Today's incident certainly pushed our security concerns to the top of our priority list."
Ross is a member of the Strategic Planning Committee for Kendall College and says they are working on security issues but they are "still in the planning stages."
Curtis is currently in a mental health facility. This is the third time he has been involuntarily checked in. Police say he will not be charged for Tuesday's incident.
Josiah's family says he is a talented artist -- a young man living with mental illness.
"He's been diagnosed with bi-polar disorder," Dale Curtis, Josiah's father, told 24 Hour News 8. "We've been working the past couple of years trying to get him on medication and regulated."
The Curtises say they last saw their son a few days ago and they could tell he was off his medication.
Tuesday's incident is the latest episode in their ongoing battle to get their son the help he so desperately needs.
"This is really hard for any family. Mental illness comes as an invasion. You don't see it coming. You may have warning signs but other people will tell you my son is going through the same thing -- it's just teenage problems," said Dale.
The Curtises are working with mental health and homeless advocate Don Tac of Servants Center. The family is coming forward in hopes their journey with Josiah will help others.
"As a parent you never quit loving your children," said Dale. "They can put you through hardships, and mental illness has its own set of challenges."
The Curtises say they would like to see changes in the mental health system that would make it mandatory for a patient to continue his or her medication or be required to seek long-term care.
Here is the video of the event. You may find some offensive language in the video. 24 Hour News 8 talked to the man who shot the video -- Kendall College student Sanskee DeBurbon. He said he does not know Josiah Curtis.