GARDEN CITY, Kan. (KSNW) – Garden City Community College was placed on lockdown for 4.5 hours on Thursday following an alert of a possible armed intruder.
According to the Garden City Police Department, their communications center received a call at 8:05 a.m. indicating a possible active shooter in the Saffell Library of GCCC.
The college was immediately placed on lockdown, and students were advised to shelter in place.
The Garden City Police Department said law enforcement officers with several agencies responded.
Upon investigation, the GCPD determined that the suspect “went into the library and told an employee there was an active shooter inside the library and then indicated it was outside.”
GCPD said they arrested the suspect in the library while law enforcement actively searched and cleared all buildings on campus.
“After a thorough investigation, the college was released from its lockdown and subsequently dismissed for the day, and law enforcement determined there was not an active shooter on campus,” said GCPD.
The scene was cleared at 12:30 p.m. The GCPD did not find any weapons or evidence of an active shooter at GCCC.
No students were hurt in the situation.
The suspect was a 39-year-old male. He was booked and lodged in the Finney County Jail on suspicion of aggravated criminal threat, giving a false alarm, and interference LEO (law enforcement officer).
Garden City USD 457 said schools were placed on lockout during the situation.
Students are still in shock.
“I’ve never experienced anything like this before in my life actually, I was kind of confused. Why there was so many cops at first, and they told us what was going down, and I was like, ‘Oh God.’ It hit me at once,” said Calob Castaneda, GCCC student.
Training is important when it comes to protecting the community.
“For the PD, we are always training,” said Erinn Reyes, GCPD spokesperson. “We take these things very seriously. We train for the actual on-scene responses to even behind the scenes.”
Campus Police Chief Rodney Dozier said that his 30 years in law enforcement prepared him to respond to a call like this, thinking about the safety of their students.
“Thoughts do cross your mind as you pass students or employees, but you have a mission, and you’re trained,” said Dozier.
Thankfully, no one was injured.
“I figured we would be OK. I was just kinda praying that everybody was involved would be alright, that we were all going to make it and be OK,” said Castaneda.
GCCC provides statement
“Situations like this are never something you want to have to experience, but absolutely, we are extremely blessed here in Garden City. I want to give credit to our campus police and all the first responders in just their response,” said GCCC President Ryan Ruda.
The college said normal business operations, including classes, remain closed for the day. Normal business at the college will resume at 8 a.m. on Friday.
Counseling services will be available for those in need inside the Spruce Street Technical
Center/north end of the Welding facility. The services will be available through 5 p.m. today
and made available in subsequent days.
“The college is here. Everybody is going to handle things differently, and being able to put that caring touch on things is important,” Ruda added. “Everything was happening at a very fast pace throughout the day, so I have not had much chance to talk to students. We were doing everything we could to ensure safety.”