Marianne Favro reports from Sunnyvale where three schools were put on lockdown for hours Friday all for a false report of a gunman on campus.
A report of a man with a gun near the campus of Cupertino Middle School in Sunnyvale that brought out a huge police force Friday morning was all fabricated, according to police.
The lockdown was called off at 12:30 p.m.; two hours after it started.
The city of Sunnyvale tweeted, "UPDATE: Search is shutting down. New info indicates gunman was fabricated." Police said the student who made the inital report recanted his story. They would not say if it was a male or female student.
The story began when the Santa Clara County Sheriff's Department confirmed a "code red" lockdown was issued for Cupertino Middle School around 10:30 a.m.
The school told parents in an email that the report came from a student who said they saw a gunman on or near the campus.
The suspect was described as a black male with a mohawk, wearing black jeans with holes in them. He was carrying a gun and walking with a limp, according to police who interviewed the student who initially reported seeing the man.
Sunnyvale police and Santa Clara County deputies were on the scene within minutes of the report.
Police had their guns drawn and were actively searching the campus at 11 a.m.. They specifically searched two storage sheds on the field of Cupertino Middle School using bolt cutters to open the locks. No one was inside.
Officers were still on campus with their guns drawn at 12:30 p.m.
A group of students was brought to a nearby 7-Eleven and were gathered in the parking lot there. It appeared the students were in gym class when the lockdown was declared.
Cupertino Middle School is in the city of Sunnyvale. The exact address is 1650 S. Bernardo Ave.
School officials sent out a note to parents telling them not to come to the school to pick up their children.
Homestead High School and West Valley Elementary School, both just a few blocks away, were also on lockdown as a precaution.
West Valley also sent out a letter to parents saying that instruction was continuing behind locked classroom doors and asked parents not to come to the school to get their children.
Several streets in the area were blocked off including Homestead Road, South Bernardo Avenue, Helena Drive and Wright Avenue.
At 11:30, the Department of Public Safety in Sunnyvale began directing parents to the southeast corner of Mary and Fremont. They called that corner a "staging area." It was being used for the distribution of information and not the place where students were brought. The students stayed in their classrooms during the lockdown. As of 12:15 p.m. there were not being released from class early.
Check back for updates.
Here is the note from Cupertino Middle School to parents:
Dear Parents: Cupertino Middle School is currently in a lockdown situation. A student reported a possible suspect on/near the campus with a weapon. All students are safe and in a lockdown situation in their classrooms. Law enforcement was already on campus and are investigating. Please do not go to the campus at this time.
We will update you shortly.
Jeremy Nishihara Communications Director