Sarah Lightley/ The Broadside
Students and staff of Central Oregon Community College received a text and email at 3:27 p.m. on Thursday, stating that the Bend campus has gone into lockdown.
The text and email instructed students and staff to “maintain silence, prepare to evade or defend.”
At 3:12 p.m., a caller to 911 reported seeing a person with a handgun on campus near Cascade Culinary Institute.
In a statement, COCC and Bend Police wrote that “multiple callers reported a handgun was pointed at an occupied classroom.”
Bend Police, Deschutes County Sheriff’s Office, Oregon State Police, and Redmond Police responded to the location.
COCC was placed on lockdown at 3:34 p.m. Nearby Pacific Crest Middle and Summit High schools were placed in a similar state of alert, known as a lockout.
A description was given of the person who allegedly had the handgun. Officers located the person matching the description. But the panic over what was believed to be an armed gunman on campus evaporated when it turned out to be a student carrying an orienteering compass.
The lockdowns were lifted from the schools about a half-hour after they were in place.
Hannah Carter, a student at COCC, said she “was in the Science Center’s lobby when the alarm was sent out.”
Carter thought the email was a notification about grades and did not look at it.
“Someone in class 190 called out to me telling me that we were in a lockdown and if I could go into their classroom,” said Carter. “I panicked as I had never been in a real lockdown before, only drills in middle school and elementary school.”
“All throughout the lockdown I was panicking. After we were told it was a false alarm I was relieved,” said Carter.
Jennifer Kovitz, a spokesperson for COCC, wrote that when going into lockdown, “doors to all buildings lock using our automated system, Emergency Notification System is activated – texts, emails, website updates, and social media posts to Twitter and Facebook. We then stayed in close contact with Bend PD, using our Emergency Notification System to update the community as we knew more.”
If you need support in any way, you can reach out to COCC’s personal counselors. The service is free and offered in a remote format. Call 541.383.7200 to schedule an appointment.
Miina Mccown contributed to this report.