Fresno SWAT officers methodically searched a medical building in central Fresno on Wednesday afternoon but didn't find a man who entered the facility and put a gun to a female patient's head.
Fresno police Chief Jerry Dyer said it's likely the gunman fled before officers swarmed around the building late Wednesday morning.
But, Dyer noted, "We need to err on the side of caution."
Police locked down the Family Care Providers Medical Group building just south of San Joaquin Memorial High School for about four hours. At one point during the incident, a call went out for a negotiator. About an hour after police arrived on the scene, 16 people were escorted out of the building.
By the time it ended about 4 p.m., Dyer said, eight more people who had been hiding in the building were escorted out as officers went room-to-room in search of the gunman.
The incident began at 11:19 a.m. at the Family Care Providers Medical Group on the southeast corner of Fresno Street and Lamona Avenue, one block south of San Joaquin Memorial. First reports were of a man in the parking lot who appeared to be upset or angry.
The man then went into the building and threatened the woman with the gun, causing the woman to fall to the ground in fear before she ran out of the building. Dyer said police arrived within five minutes.
About 11:30 a.m., many students at San Joaquin Memorial were ushered into the school gymnasium or classrooms for their safety, principal Edward Borges said.
The campus was not locked down, he said.
It was National Testing Day so some students had finished testing and were not on campus, he said.
Borges said Fresno police did not want students on the south side of the campus, but students could leave the parking lot or wait at the bus stop on the north side.
By about 12:30 p.m., Fresno police told school officials they no longer needed to keep students confined.
Fresno Street between the high school campus and Olive Avenue was closed from the time police arrived until after 4 p.m. Police said the medical offices were allowed to reopen late Tuesday afternoon after officers had finished their work.
Police did not offer any more details about the gunman.
Staff writer Marc Benjamin contributed to this story. The reporter can be reached at (559) 441-6339, email@example.com or @jimguy27 on Twitter.