The critter fell through the ceiling onto a first floor hallway.
By Dillon Holloway
A large raccoon broke through a ceiling tile in a hallway and crashed to the floor at about 8 a.m. Oct. 20 in McCreless Hall.
A campus police officer and groundkeepers responded to the scene and attempted to capture the animal using a plastic trash can and a grabbing tool.
The raccoon ran throughout the first floor hallway and made multiple trips up the stairs with police and facilities workers in pursuit.
Eventually the raccoon was shooed out of a door on the first floor of the west end of McCreless.
Campus housekeeper Mariscla Gutierrez witnessed the raccoon fall through the ceiling and described the event with assistance from housekeeping supervisor Maryann Hernandez and housekeeper Christina Olivarez, who acted as translators.
Gutierrez said she was dust mopping in the hallway when she heard a noise. As she turned around to look, she saw the raccoon break through the tile and land with a loud noise before running off.
The raccoon chase began around 8 a.m., police officer Brian Williams said in a statement after the animal was safely outside.
Williams described the chase and said that he has never had to pursue a raccoon in such a manner before.
“That was a little bit of exercise, little too early for that,” Williams said. “He went upstairs. We chased him all around the building until he finally went outside where he is now hanging out somewhere in these bushes.”
Williams said the procedure if groundskeepers are not able to capture an animal is to contact Critter Control, a private pest control company.
“If we can’t catch it, then we will call Critter Control, and they will come lay cages to trap and release the animal into the woods,” he said.
Patty Medina, director of student success, said she has seen signs of something living in the ceiling.
“Right where the raccoon fell through had been what appeared to be a urine stain on the ceiling tile since last summer,” she said in an interview later that day. “There’s been plenty of rumors within the faculty of something living up in the ceiling, even stories of food coming up missing in the break room.”
The facilities department maintains a hotline for anyone to report problems. The number is 210-486-1235.