The University of Oklahoma is on lockdown Wednesday after a faculty member reported hearing gunshots but the school’s president has announced that it appears the incident was a false alarm perhaps connected with the construction equipment being used nearby.
“It seems most likely there were other sounds” that could have been misinterpreted as gunfire, University of Oklahoma President David Boren said at a news conference. He said police found no casings and no one who appeared to be a “potential shooter.” No injuries were reported.University officials issued a notice late Wednesday morning that shots had been reported near the center of campus and that people should stay where they were and avoid Gould Hall, which houses OU’s architecture school per ABC News. Within less than an hour police issued an all-clear for most of the campus.
Throughout the afternoon, police conducted several searchers floor-by-floor of Gould Hall, which by then had been covered with yellow-and-black police tape. University of Oklahoma police officers stood guard at two entrances, one armed with a rifle. The building was given the all-clear by midafternoon.
Workers nearby had been using a backhoe and frontloader and it is possible some of the equipment backfired, causing the whole false alarm to take place. Alerts were distributed within three minutes of being reported, Boren said.
“It appears to have been a false alarm but all the right things were done and all the people involved did the right things,” Boren said.
“I haven’t been able to calm my class down,” said Gary Barksdale, an adjunct math professor. “I’m going to have a blast trying to teach limits of functions when everybody is concerned about this.”
“I think it’s overkill,” 19-year-old sophomore Alex Owens said, noting an armed officer who stood outside the building early Wednesday afternoon. “It just makes it seem like there is more going on.”