After reports of gunfire & lockdown, no active shooter at Highline College Friday


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UPDATE: After reports of gunfire being heard just before 9 a.m. Friday morning (Feb. 16), and a lockdown on the Highline College campus, Des Moines Police reports that an initial investigation indicates that there was no active shooter on campus.

Police followed up with a secondary sweep of the campus, and an ‘all clear’ was announced at 11:38 a.m.

The first alert went out at 8:55 a.m., advising all “to lock down all offices and classrooms until further notice.”

A huge police response resulted, with roads around the campus closed – including southbound I-5 for a while – and heavily armed police slowly sweeping the campus, building to building.

Later reports indicate that the actual cause of the “gunfire” may have been fireworks.

Classes were canceled for the rest of the day.

Also, nearby schools Parkside, Mount Rainier, Midway, Pacific and Des Moines went into lockdown as a precautionary measure. Highline Public Schools says its Security was in direct communication with police “to ensure that our staff and students stayed safe.”

Here’s information released by the Des Moines Police Department:

On Friday, Feb. 16, 2018 at about 8:52 a.m., the Des Moines Police Department received multiple reports of shots being fired at Highline College.

Initially there were conflicting reports as to the exact location of the reported shots on campus.

The entire campus was put into lockdown at 8:57 a.m.

First responders from multiple law enforcement agencies, federal & state agencies, along with fire and emergency medical service personnel responded to the call. The first officers arriving at the campus did an initial sweep of the campus and did not locate a shooter, any victims or evidence of a shooting.

SWAT units from multiple agencies searched every building on the campus to look for any potential victims.

The lockdown was lifted at about 11:45 a.m.

The Des Moines Police Department will continue to investigate this incident.

If you were on campus and saw or heard anything, you are asked to contact Des Moines Police at (206) 878-3301. If you would like to contact Highline College. send en mail to [email protected].

And here’s an email that was sent out by Highline College’s Interim President Friday afternoon:

Dear Campus Community,

Around 9 a.m. today, Public Safety received multiple reports of possible gunfire on Highline’s campus. The campus was placed on lockdown while law enforcement investigated. Officers searched all buildings and the campus itself to determine whether gunfire had been the cause of the noise.

We are relieved and grateful that no active shooter was found and that no one was injured. Nevertheless, out of caution, we have closed campus and cancelled classes for the rest of the day.

The police investigation is ongoing.

I want to thank our Public Safety team and our first-responders for their professional, collaborative, and effective response. I also appreciate the cooperation of our faculty, staff, and students in initiating the lockdown, sheltering in place, and evacuating in such an orderly manner. I know that it was a stressful experience for everyone, especially in light of recent events.

Highline’s Public Safety staff and area law enforcement agencies take all reports seriously and will not take any chances when potential threats are reported. They responded to this situation — and will in the future — with the campus’s safety utmost in mind.

Campus operations and classes will resume tomorrow.

Our staff and our partner agencies have already begun the process of debriefing. We will hold a campus forum late next week to provide updates and to hear your questions and concerns. We will use what we hear to make our safety procedures even better.

In the meantime, we continue to encourage anyone to report anything suspicious to Public Safety immediately at (206) 592-3218.

– Jeff

Jeff Wagnitz
Interim President
Highline College
[email protected]

“We have completed our search and have not located any injuries or indications of a shooting. We are working with Highline CC to remove lockdown and the investigation into the initial call will continue,” Kent Police Tweeted at 11:49 a.m. “Thank you for your patience.”

Police also announced that Parents can re-unify with students in the Lowes parking lot on Pacific Highway.

UPDATE: South King Fire reports that – as of 9:59 a.m. – “There are no known victims at HCC.”

“This is not a drill. Close doors, close windows. Police are responding to campus. Do not come to campus if you are on your way. More details to come”

From: <[email protected]>
Date: Fri, Feb 16, 2018 at 8:55 AM
Subject: Lockdown – This is not a drill
To: [email protected], [email protected], [email protected]

We have reports of gunfire on campus. Please lock down all offices and classrooms until further notice.

From: <[email protected]>
Date: Fri, Feb 16, 2018 at 9:10 AM
Subject: Lockdown: This is not a drill
To: [email protected], [email protected], [email protected]

Lockdown: This is not a drill. Close doors, close windows. Police are responding to campus. Do not come to campus if you are on your way. More details to come.

From: <[email protected]>
Date: Fri, Feb 16, 2018 at 9:18 AM
Subject: Remain in lockdown – This is not a drill
To: [email protected], [email protected], [email protected]

All Buildings need to remain in lockdown. Barricade doors and windows. Police are responding and we will have further details shortly.

From: <[email protected]>
Date: Fri, Feb 16, 2018 at 9:26 AM
Subject: Remain in lockdown – This is not a drill
To: [email protected], [email protected], [email protected]

Police are responding and evacuating buildings. Remain in lockdown position. We will update you as further details become available. This is an unfolding situation.

From: <[email protected]>
Date: Fri, Feb 16, 2018 at 9:57 AM
Subject: Remain in lockdown – This is not a drill
To: cwudm-student-announce[email protected], [email protected], [email protected]

Police are clearing buildings. Please remain in lockdown until police have cleared your building. Parents can re-unify with students in the Lowes parking lot of Pacific Highway.

From: <[email protected]>
Date: Fri, Feb 16, 2018 at 10:57 AM
Subject: Remain in lockdown
To: [email protected], [email protected], [email protected]

Students and employees should remained in lockdown while buildings are being evacuated by law enforcement. Classes are cancelled for Friday, Feb. 16. For reunification, please meet students in Lowe’s parking lot on 24050 Pacific Highway.

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