Additional reporting by Matt Robinson, Cougar News Staff Writer
At approximately 7:24 p.m. on Tuesday evening, COC students received emails and phone calls alerting them of a possible armed man at the Valencia campus.
Students and faculty quickly retreated into lockdown position as they awaited news on a suspected gunman.
The email, sent out by the Santa Clarita Community College District, stated that the supposed gunman was near parking lot 15 and warned anyone at COC to “shelter in place” in the nearest evacuation room designated by faculty.
At approximately 7:29 p.m., COC students received an “all clear” email informing them that the campus was safe.
Reports from the Sheriff’s Department confirmed that the suspect has since been questioned and released.
Police were on campus immediately to question the suspect and the victim.
Eric Harnish, Director of Public Information at College of the Canyons, stated that the issue reported was a domestic dispute.
“There was a female who reported that the person she was in (an) argument with had a gun,” Harnish said. “That call was sent into the switchboard, then to the Sheriff’s Department.”
The Sheriff’s Department immediately made contact with the suspect, however, deputies only discovered a BB gun after searching the suspect’s vehicle.
A faculty member who received the alert reported to Cougar News that the initial alert was sent minutes after the suspect was detained off campus.
Although the cellphone alert was delayed, both students and staff agreed that the cellphone alerts were helpful in preparing them for the emergency efficiently.
“In a matter of seconds, everyone started pulling out their phones,” said Trent Stephens, a COC student who was on campus during the incident.
Stephens stated that his professor “locked the doors” and everyone assumed the lockdown position.
Student Alex Ferah, who was also at the Valencia campus during the lockdown, said he was confident that campus security would handle the issue immediately.
“All of us getting a text at the same time, they were clearly on it,” Ferah said. “Within 10 minutes it was all over.”
This is the second such incident in SCV today as earlier there was report of a gunman near Sierra Vista, according to SCVNews.com.