FERNLEY, NV - After all the recent shootings around the nation, you can imagine how anxious parents were in Fernley Tuesday morning when the high school went into lockdown over reports of a man nearby with a gun. It turns out, he never was a threat, but parents and school officials are thankful for local law enforcement's quick response.
"He just said that they have the school all cleared. The lockdown's been lifted and we can go in and get our kids," sighs Jamiee Kerr, a parent of a 14-year-old girl who is a freshman at Fernley High School.
Her daughter had texted her when authorities put their school in a code red alert lockdown around 8am on Tuesday. Students were instructed to stay in their classrooms, but they were not told why.
"It was the scariest thing not knowing and with everything that's going on these days and all the school shootings, and we didn't know," says Kerr.
Somehow, word got out that the Lyon County Sheriff's Office had received reports of a man with a rifle in the area. Several agencies assisted in the response, including NHP and the Storey County Sheriff's Office. Once the school was put into lockdown, deputies checked the school and its surroundings. They also located the man who'd been reported with a rifle. Turns out, he wasn't that close to the school and he was never a threat.
"We made contact with him and never was a threat to the school," says Albert Torres, with the Lyon County Sheriff's Office. "He was out target practicing in the foothills."
But officials could understand why so many people were on edge. After all of the recent shootings across the nation and the one at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, a lot of parents are worried.
"I was just as worried," says Principal Kent Jones, about how he felt before the school was given the all-clear. "That's scary to go through, but you know what, we ran our procedures and everything... The kids were safe and we tried to communicate with parents the best we could. So that they were at ease."
And once the lockdown was lifted around 10am, nearly two hours after it was put in place, parents also expressed their gratitude to authorities. Dozens had shown up outside of the high school and shook hands with deputies.
"Yeah, definitely, they did a good job," says Jamiee Kerr. "They were fast to get here and get everything surrounded and one of them kept us informed. Kept coming over about every 20 minutes and letting us know what was going on. And they did a great job."
"It's good to know that that support is there if a situation happened," agrees Principal Jones. "Because it was not treated as a drill. It was the real thing and the response was quick."