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Campus reopened after false alarm

February 21, 2008 12:00:00 AM PST
A report of a person roaming the campus of California State University, Dominguez Hills with an assault rifle is a false alarm. Authorities swarmed the campus of California State University, Dominguez Hills Thursday morning. The campus was under lockdown.

University officials reported that the parent of a student rushed into the campus police office claiming he has seen a man with an assault rifle with grenades strapped to his belt on campus.

The parent said he saw the man while he was dropping his daughter off at the campus Thursday morning.

During the intense search police say an ROTC cadet approached them and told them he believed he was the man witnesses had seen. He said he was out of uniform, wearing a sweatshirt and was walking through campus with his training rifle.

Witnesses confirmed that the student was the person they had seen with the gun.

The parent that initially alerted the authorities says that precautions should of been taken.

"I just think that whoever is training that guy should of told him to put the gun in a bag or put on a uniform or have a way of checking it in or something. But he definitely should not be walking around with it exposed like that," said Ron Jackson, concerned parent.

University officials say that it is policy to require ROTC students to keep training rifles in a duffle bag while moving around on campus. They say that it is clear that policy was not followed in this case.

University officials say that after the deadly shooting at Virginia Tech and the recent tragic shooting at NIU campuses nationwide are not taking any chances.

Eyewitness News reporter Leo Stallworth: "So to lockdown the campus and to have a huge police presence was that on the heels of a misunderstanding?"

"It was on the heels of Northern Illinois and some of the challenges that took place. I think their response was to be better safe than sorry," said Greg Saks, spokesman.

"Wouldn't you be freaked out if you saw something that looked like a real M-16. I am freaked out right now, you know. It shows that we are not safe," said Mark Kerr Jr., student.

"I was very scared for nothing is basically what I am trying to say. I was scared for free and there wasn't any reason why I should of been scared. And if that was the case they should of let me know as soon as possible. Instead I had to hear it from a friend, who heard it from a friend," said Lisette Gonzalez, student.

The report prompted the school to shut down and search the sprawling university grounds 20 miles south of downtown Los Angeles.

 

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