Crime

Lockdown at Visalia schools over, no gunman found

A report of an armed man on a school campus prompted a lockdown of five schools Thursday morning, but no gunman was found in a police sweep of the Golden West educational complex.

The lockdown lasted more than three hours and ended about 11:30 a.m.

A school administrator reported seeing a man with a gun wearing a red hooded sweatshirt, police said.

An elementary school, a middle school, Golden West High, an adult school and a school for special education students were put on lockdown.

No shots were fired and the case remains under investigation, police said.

“This is not an active shooter situation,” Visalia police Sgt. Damon Maurice said before the lockdown ended.

Police were called at 8:09 a.m.

Students were kept in their classrooms at Golden Oak Elementary, Valley Oak Middle, the high school, Riverbend Elementary, which is the school for special-education students, and Visalia Unified Adult School.

More than 3,000 students were affected.

Police went building-to-building and room-to-room searching for the gunman and were helped from the air by a CHP helicopter checking rooftops.

Nervous parents waited outside a perimeter as police searched.

Parent Dina Cardenas said she got text messages from two of her children at the high school.

“They were on lockdown and under their desks,” she said. “It’s scary for all of us. The feeling is awful – I don’t know how to describe the experience.”

Visalia Unified School District official Tamara Ravalin said all students were accounted for within six minutes of the district being notified by police.

Lewis Griswold: 559-441-6104, @fb_LewGriswold

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