February 16, 2018 / 6:07 PM / 10 months ago

Police respond to rumours of gunfire at college in Washington state

(Reuters) - A college near Seattle locked down its campus on Friday morning as police responded to unconfirmed reports of gunfire, according to the college and police.

There were no confirmed injuries, and police did not rule out the possibility of a false alarm.

“This is not a drill,” Highline College in Des Moines, Washington state, said on its Facebook page, urging people to barricade doors and windows. The school has about 17,000 students, according to its website.

The alarming warning came just days after a gunman entered a school in Parkland, Florida, killing 17 people and injuring others in one of the worst school shootings in U.S. history.

The Renton Police Department said in a post on Twitter that it and other law enforcement agencies were sending officers to Highline College after reports of gunshots.

“At this time, we haven’t located any suspects or any injured people that I’m aware of,” Kent Police Commander Jarod Kasner said in a phone interview.

South King Fire & Rescue department said it had ambulances at the school. It said on Twitter there were no known victims.

The college said police were evacuating buildings. People inside the college posted anxious messages and videos on social media about impromptu barricades, pushing chairs and tables against doors and waiting in darkness.

“I’m still in my classroom at Highline College with some students, waiting for police to evacuate us,” Stevi Costa, a teacher of English literature, wrote on Twitter. “This is a literal nightmare.”

Reporting by Jonathan Allen and Peter Szekely in New York, Suzannah Gonzales in Chicago; Editing by Bill Trott and Bernadette Baum

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