SMC — Santa Monica College was placed on lockdown Tuesday while police investigated reports of a person with a gun on campus, but no suspect or weapon was found.
A stretch of Pico Boulevard was also shut down while campus and Santa Monica police searched SMC buildings with guns drawn.
SMC spokesman Bruce Smith said the campus was locked down shortly after 11 a.m. when police received unconfirmed reports about a possible person with a gun.
“There was no shooting,” Smith confirmed later. “One of the things that we’re investigating as a possibility is that there was construction noise mistaken for shots being fired.”
A new student services building is under construction on the main campus.
Although classes were not in session, the campus was open in advance of the upcoming semester for students to register for courses, apply for financial aid or purchase books and supplies. Students and staffers who were walking the campus were pulled into the nearest building when the lockdown was declared.
Nearby pre-school, elementary and middle school campuses were also shut down.
John Adams Middle School was hosting a science magnet program, computer club, the campus Boys & Girls Club, Santa Monica City Sports Experience and a pre-school when staff got the call about the potential shooting, said office manager Marty Mirabal.
“Everyone was safe and indoors until the threat was cleared,” Mirabal said.
Will Rogers Elementary, which had no kids on campus, was also shut down, and Mount Olive Lutheran Church Preschool took precautions when staff heard the sirens and helicopters, said Assistant Director Corlene Flanagan.
“We were not formally asked (to shut down), but we called the schools around us,” Flanagan said. “Instead of kids eating lunch outside, we ate lunch in the classroom.”
Smith said the college police department received a call at 11:03 a.m. from the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department, which had received a call from the mother of an SMC student saying her daughter had apparently heard shots on campus.
“A call was also received from the Santa Monica Police Department, which had received a call from Riverside Sheriff’s (Department), and a third call from an unknown person was also received,” Smith said.
Authorities immediately ordered the lockdown, and searched the campus, but no suspect was found. The lockdown was lifted about 12:15 p.m., Smith said.