The "weapon" reportedly carried by a masked man who caused a lockdown on parts of Georgia Southern University's campus Dec. 5 turned out to be an umbrella, police said.
A university police report released Wednesday in response to an Open Records Act request by the Statesboro Herald says that a woman who saw Daniel Ambrose Cistola, 23, of Statesboro Place Circle, "wearing all black, black gloves and a gorilla mask" called to report the sighting around 8:06 a.m. Dec. 5.
She said the man later identified as Cistola carried "what appeared to be a rifle hanging from his back with the strap around his chest," the report states.
The witness saw Cistola walking into Georgia Southern's Natural Sciences Building on Georgia Avenue and was alarmed, according to the report.
University police, as well as Statesboro police, the Bulloch County Sheriff's Office, Georgia State Patrol, the Georgia Bureau of Investigation and others, responded to the scene and locked down the building and nearby areas until it was determined to be safe. The building was reopened around 11:30 a.m., the report says.
University officials gave the "all clear" on the incident by 12:30 p.m. that day.
Investigators identified and later located Cistola, who claimed the stunt was a prank, according to university officials.
Cistola was arrested Dec. 9 on the misdemeanor charge of concealing identity by wearing a mask. He was taken to the Bulloch County Jail, where he later posted bond.
According to the Georgia Code, "A person is guilty of a misdemeanor when he wears a mask, hood, or device by which any portion of the face is so hidden, concealed, or covered as to conceal the identity of the wearer and is upon any public way or public property or upon the private property of another without the written permission of the owner or occupier of the property to do so."
Exceptions are those wearing a traditional holiday costume, such as on Halloween; athletes or trade workers whose safety equipment includes masks; persons acting in theatrical productions, including during Mardi Gras celebrations and masquerade balls; or gas masks worn during emergency drills or actual emergencies, according to the law.
He is expected to face court action possibly in January, according to Bulloch County Clerk of Courts Heather Banks McNeal. Cistola also may face judicial referral to university officials for further punishment.
Holli Deal Saxon may be reached at (912) 489-9414.