DES MOINES, Wash. – Several calls were made to 911 Friday morning from people who claimed to hear gunfire just before 9 a.m. near Highline College in Des Moines.
That’s when the campus immediately went into lockdown and police from across the region scrambled to the scene.
Investigators did not find a gunman or evidence of shots being fired or evidence that anyone was injured, but many students and their family members said their nerves were frayed after Wednesday’s deadly school shooting at a high school in Parkland, Florida.
“The thing that happened down in Parkland and now this,” Jerry Parson said to Q13 News.
He said his pregnant girlfriend was sheltering in place during the lockdown on Friday morning. “I mean it happens all over the world, but being here firsthand witnessing this. It’s ridiculous.”
Police and SWAT teams swarmed the school while students and staff waited for officers to deem the campus safe.
Before noon, police gave the all clear. The lockdown was lifted and students began filing out.
“We panicked. I don’t know what to do, especially after the shooting in Florida,” said Lori Toilolo.
Student Zana Shwan says he hid in a closet with other students during the search.
“It was a scary moment, but I think we’re all safe now,” he said.
“It’s just real sad that we have to get to this point,” said Steve Talmadge, who rushed to the campus where his daughter was attending classes.
Steve and his wife waited in the cold for their daughter Amanda and after nearly two hours their anxiety and fear melted with a hug.
“After seeing the news yesterday and now this here, I don’t even know what to say,” said Steve.
His daughter was shaken but happy police took the threat seriously.
“I think they did pretty well,” she said. “They just took a long time.”
Police say they searched every building on campus but never found any victims or signs of a shooter.
The incident is still under investigation. Detectives are asking those who might have information about what happened Friday morning to call the Des Moines Police Department.