(ABC News) – Reports of a shooting and a gunman on the campus of the University of Oklahoma today were false, the school’s president said this afternoon.
The school was placed on lockdown around 12:30 p.m. today after a faculty member told police they heard three noises that sounded like gunshots, President David L. Boren said at a news conference today.
Police and SWAT teams responded to Gould Hall, searched the building, and evacuated students, but found no evidence of a shooting, he said. There were no bullet casings inside or outside the building, no one who appeared to be a shooter, and no witness reports of a shooter.
The police began a second search of the building after the first to ensure that it was safe.
At 1 p.m., 30 minutes after the initial text message telling the school’s students and staff to stay in place, the university sent out another alert notifying students and faculty the campus was safe and operations would resume as normal. Gould Hall remained closed.
Boren said he believed the police and university reacted in the best possible way to the report, treating it as a serious threat.
“We can never take these kind of reports lightly. The faculty member did exactly the right thing, they informed police immediately, that’s exactly what should be done,” Boren said. “Our system worked. We are just thankful that no one was injured at all.”
He noted that the campus had recently practiced for events like a shooting, and said that many educators around the country are on edge because of the frequency of school shootings.
“We live in a time in which we simply cannot think that everything’s a false alarm. We always have to track down the facts, respond, and protect our students,” he said.
Police were immediately on the scene of the reported shooting, and the first notification went out three minutes after the report by the faculty member, Boren said.
James Fraschilla, a student basketball player at OU, told ABC News he was walking out of Gould Hall when he saw cops with assault rifles running toward him, telling students to get away from the building.
“I was leaving a physiology class in Gould Hall… I walked out of the class and the building pretty calmly until I saw SWAT team members, or at least a lot of cops with assault rifles, saying to get the heck back,” said Fraschilla.
Fraschilla, a junior, said he didn’t hear any shots fired. He was ushered into a building next to Gould Hall and into the basement to take shelter.
“I didn’t (hear anything). I couldn’t tell that anything was out of the ordinary,” he said. “I’m having a small anxiety attack, but I’m trying to stay calm. Everybody’s trying to stay calm, too. You never think you’re going to be in a situation like this. I called my parents right away to tell them I was okay.”