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Aug 20, 2014 03:35 PM EDT

Cal State San Marcos Locked Down Briefly After Faculty Member's Umbrella Mistaken for Rifle


Cal State University - San Marcos' (CSUSM) operations briefly came to a halt Wednesday when the campus went on lockdown after a faculty member's umbrella was mistaken for a firearm.

According to NBC San Diego, the CSUSM Police Dept. placed the campus under shelter in place shortly after eight a.m. Not even two hours later, around 9:45 a.m., the police lifted the shelter in place and the school gave the all clear over the campus' loudspeakers.

School officials told NBC S.D. that the police later learned the rifle he was suspected to be carrying was actually just an umbrella. During the lockdown, police swept the grounds and could not find a suspect, though they determined there were no shots fired.

"Even though there wasn't a shooting or anything there is a very relieving feeling to know you're safe," Stephen Carrier, a student who said he was trained on how to respond to an active shooter on campus, told NBC S.D.

The school's initial campus safety alert on their official website identified the suspect as a bald white male wearing a black shirt and jeans.

"It's definitely scary knowing someone could be around the corner, you know, with a gun," Lane Giammalva, another CSUSM student, said. "You just have to remain calm, protect yourself and protect the people next to you."

"Contact was made with suspect. No weapons were found. The campus has been cleared to return to normal activities," the school announced at 9:35 a.m.

"The suspect was identified as a member of the CSUSM staff and deemed to be unarmed and not a threat. It was his umbrella and carrying case that had been misidentified as a weapon," read an update at 11 a.m.

Other college campuses have been shut down without an actual threat, but quick emergency responses from authorities and the community have to be encouraging.

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