JCCC lockdown lifted after prolonged search for reportedly armed woman

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OVERLAND PARK, Kan. -- A lockdown triggered by reports of a suspicious armed woman at Johnson County Community College on Thursday was lifted just after 7 p.m. The college says the threat is no longer considered credible and classes will go on as scheduled on Friday.

The lockdown was ordered for five campus buildings at 3:40 p.m. and a full campus lockdown was ordered at 4:30 p.m. People were later released from campus buildings one-by-one and all cars leaving were searched by police.

Though police received the reports, they never mentioned taking anyone into custody who matched the suspicious woman's description, who was said to be a white female carrying a long gun, standing 5 foot 10 with a ponytail, wearing dark-colored clothing and carrying a camouflage bag. Campus police were assisted by the Overland Park Police Department in the search, one that was said to be challenging according to a campus officer.

“We’ve looked through several buildings right now; you have to understand 250-acre property, 55 acre a building is a huge place to try to find one person. We don’t know how credible the information is that we have, but we’re looking right now for that individual,” JCCC Crime Prevention Officer Dan Robles said earlier Thursday afternoon.

Ofc. Robles continued, saying that the first reports were that the person may have been in the commons or general education building, elaborating that the area is typically quite active and one of the campus' larger buildings. The report was the suspicious person was a woman by herself, complicating the search.

Later Thursday night, JCCC issued the following statement:

"This evening JCCC Police received a report that a person had been spotted on campus with a weapon. Police take such reports very seriously. As a result, the campus was locked down as police checked rooms and spoke to the person who reported the situation. To ensure safety precautions, all evening classes were canceled.

After searching the buildings, the police were not able to find anyone, and the lockdown was lifted a little after 7 p.m.

'JCCC has never experienced such a situation before,' said JCCC president Joe Sopcich. 'We are proud of the way our JCCC Police Department responded to the initial report, and we’d like to thank the Overland Park Police Department, the Johnson County Sheriff’s Department, the Kansas Highway Patrol and MedAct for their very quick deployment on campus. We are grateful the situation ended well.'"