Monterey Peninsula College is back open Friday afternoon after a lockdown on campus around 11:30 a.m. Classes, however, have been canceled for the remainder of the day, according to school officials. Athletic practices will continue as scheduled.
According to the Monterey Police Department, a 65-year-old Santa Cruz man reported an armed robbery to officers around 11 a.m. The man told officers he'd been robbed while sitting in his car in the area of Fishnet and Iris Canyon by two Latino males wearing red shirts. The suspects left the area, either on foot or in a car.
Due to the close proximity of the Monterey Peninsula College campus, police notified school officials of the possible suspects' description. Campus administrators placed the school on lockdown, and students and staff were advised to stay inside and lock all entrances.
Monterey Police Lt. Leslie Sonne said that around 11:45 a.m. as officers were investigating the alleged robbery, the Monterey County Emergency Communications Center began getting text messages from students and employees on campus indicating there was an armed subject on the grounds. Four separate people reported information ranging from someone being held at gunpoint to shots being fired.
Multiple public agencies assisted, with more than 20 officers helping search the campus. Officers also interviewed the four people who had sent the text messages to their friends and family that prompted the calls to 911. Police determined the information relayed to dispatchers was inaccurate, and that no one had actually seen someone with a gun or heard shots.
There was no evidence of a shooting and no one was injured. Officials carefully searched each building on campus before declaring it safe. The lockdown was lifted around 1 p.m.
Officers investigating the original report of the armed robbery found significant inconsistencies in the man's statement and no physical evidence to support it, Sonne said.