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Lockdown At Yale Campus Lifted As Search For Gunman Turns Up Empty

Update 5 p.m.:

FAIRFIELD COUNTY, Conn. -- The lockdown/shelter in place order at Yale University was lifted at 4:40 p.m. Monday after a daylong search for a gunman turned up nothing, New Haven Police said.

New Haven police were investigating the anonymous morning phone call that reported a gunman was on his way to shoot to shoot people at the Ivy League campus. No gunman was found, and police said reported sightings of a gunman were probably of law enforcement officials.

Update 4 p.m.:

FAIRFIELD COUNTY, Conn. -- As the New Haven police chief said he believed the threat of a gunman at Yale University might have been a hoax, the lockdown was lifted except for the Old Campus area, the Ivy League college reported on its website at about 3:30 p.m. Monday.

At a news conference, Police Chief Dean Esserman said he wanted to speak to the person who called in the anonymous threat that brought New Haven to a standstill on Monday. Police were continuing to search hundreds of mostly empty dorm rooms on the campus, Esserman said.

Original story: FAIRFIELD COUNTY, Conn. -- The ongoing lockdown at Yale University and the surrounding area of New Haven began with a 911 call from an anonymous caller that his roommate was "on his way to shoot people" on the Ivy League campus, a police spokesman said at about 1:15 p.m. Monday.

The call, which lasted only a few seconds, was made from a pay phone on Columbus Avenue, said New Haven police spokesman David Hartman.

Police were looking at surveillance video to try to identify the caller, who hung up on police dispatchers, Hartman said.

No reports or injuries or gunfire have been made, he said. But several witnesses reported seeing a man with a long gun, Hartman said, clarifying that it was a rifle or shotgun, not a handgun. But witnesses may have seen law enforcement officers with weapons, not a suspect, he said.

No description of the suspect was offered, and no suspect has been detained, he said.

As heavily armed police officers searched the area, Yale remained on lockdown, along with part of downtown New Haven and nearby Gateway Community College, Hartman said. The lockdown at Yale began at 10:17 a.m.

The campus is quieter than usual because classes are out of session for the Thanksgiving holidays, he said.

At 1:45 p.m., Yale sent out this message:

"Out of an abundance of caution, Police will be doing a room to room search starting with the residential college areas. When they knock on your door, a Yale Police Officer will slip their Yale ID under the door. Please cooperate. In some cases, Police may use keys, but they will identify themselves. Shelter in Place continues."

Multiple SWAT teams were searches of the residential colleges at Yale. Officers from New Haven, Yale, State Police, FBI and ATF have responded, he said. Heavily armed in tactical gear and carrying assault weapons were searching the campus and buildings.

"The full bore investigation would continue," Hartman said. Using an analogy of a flashlight that dims as it loses power, he said the investigation would "not fade but continue full bore."

The following road closures were in place, causing huge traffic jams in downtown New Haven:

High Street between Elm and Chapel     Chapel between High and College     College between Chapel and Elm     Elm between College and High

The perimeter around what is known as Old Campus is considered the hot zone, and nothing is moving in and out of that area, Hartman said. The police perimeter has been expanded due to traffic and pedestrian problems in the area, he said.

The lockdown and shelter in place continued as of Monday afternoon, according to a Yale emergency website, which includes multiple messages to the college community about the incident. ?

Read the first story on the alert here at The Daily Voice.

This was the second lockdown incident at a college in Connecticut this month. On Monday, Nov. 4, a student in a Halloween costume alarmed other students on campus at Central Connecticut State University. That student was charged with breach of peace. Read about it here at The Daily Voice.

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