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Everyone is safe after a campus lockdown at Anoka Technical College on Thursday. Police responded shortly after 11:00 am when both a student and a staff member at the college reported an unidentified person acting suspiciously.
College administrators and campus security made the decision to initiate a lockdown. Everyone in the building was instructed over loudspeakers to lock themselves inside the classrooms.
“It was scary,” said Erin Watson, a student at Anoka Tech, “because these things have been happening all over the country and then, you know, that's the first place your mind goes now - even before we heard anything about the possibility of it being an active shooter. It's like ok, where is this person? What's going on? So, it’s scary.”
Police believe the suspicious person left campus before law enforcement arrived. The lockdown lasted just a little more than an hour. Police say no gun, no danger and no threat was ever involved. But the response was complicated a bit by a scared student who sent a text during the lockdown. The student sent a message from inside the school to a relative that mentioned a man with a gun. That prompted an additional police response.
“We quickly determined that it was not the case,” said Anoka Police Chief Eric Peterson, assuring that there was not an armed man on campus. “We identified the individual that had made the text and they disclosed to us that it was out of fear, of not knowing what was going on.”
The suspicious person who prompted the initial lockdown was never found. The Anoka Police Department will continue to investigate and hope to identify that person. Chief Peterson said it's important to be aware of your surroundings and if you see something, to say something. Both police and the college administration were pleased with the smooth response. Coon Rapids Police, Champlin Police, Osseo Police, Maple Grove Police and the Anoka County Sheriff's Department all offered assistance to the Anoka Police Department.
Following the lockdown, all activities at Anoka Technical College and Anoka-Hennepin School District’s STEP High School, which is also in the building, were cancelled for the rest of the day.
Jennifer Anderson reporting