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False Report of Active Shooter Prompts USC Marshall School of Business Campus Lockdown

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Reports of an active shooter prompted a midday lockdown of the USC Marshall School of Business campus on Monday, the day after the deadliest shooting in modern U.S. history left at least 59 dead and more than 500 injured at a Las Vegas country music festival. The Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) responded in force to an emergency call from the Marshall School but quickly determined that the report was false.

The LAPD received a 12:17 p.m. 911 call reporting a possible active shooter, and the university issued a ‘police activity/shelter in place’ alert minutes later on its emergency notification system, campus newspaper the Daily Trojan reported. An LAPD SWAT team searched Marshall’s Fertitta Hall room by room but ultimately determined that no shots had been fired and no one had been harmed.

USC Provost Michael Quick released a statement late Monday afternoon saying that the events stemmed from “an unconfirmed report of an active shooter in Fertitta Hall,” the Los Angeles Times reported. “The Los Angeles Police Department and the university are looking into the incident, which the LAPD is stating appears to have originated erroneously from a faculty member in a classroom,” Quick said.

LAPD Officer Tony Im told the L.A. Times that a female adjunct professor had closed the door to a classroom and told students there was an active shooter on campus, at which point students called police. The woman was detained by police for a mental health evaluation in an effort to determine “why she did what she did,” Im said. “They’re going to question her about everything.”

According to the L.A. Times report, MBA student Brian Frost saw people fleeing a building as he was getting coffee before his 12:30 p.m. class. “I just started running,” he told the L.A. Times, adding that there was a heightened level of anxiety in the aftermath of the Nevada mass shooting less than 24 hours earlier. “It’s one of those things where you can’t not think about it.”

Another MBA student, Ignacio Barron, told the L.A. Times that he’d been taking an exam when someone burst into his classroom with evacuation orders. He and his classmates quickly fled Popovich Hall and awaited updates from police. Helicopters circled overhead and students sitting outside a campus food court were moved inside, according to the L.A. Times report. Other students and employees sheltered in place in classrooms and offices.

“Everything was really well-coordinated,” Barron told the L.A. Times, praising the school’s response.

The LAPD tweeted “No danger to community” at 12:59 p.m. after completing a systematic search of campus buildings. The school’s department of public safety allowed students to return to classrooms around 2 p.m., according to the L.A. Times report.

“In the aftermath of the tragic events in Las Vegas on Sunday, we understand this is a time of stress and anxiety,” read Provost Quick’s statement. “We want to remind you of the counseling resources we have available.”