ELMONT, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — Students resumed normal activities at Elmont Memorial High School after a report of a suspicious person in the area prompted an hours-long lockdown Tuesday morning.
The lockdown was put into effect around 8:15 a.m. after police received a call around 7:40 a.m. from a woman who said she saw a male teenager with a backpack and a lime green gun, 1010 WINS’ Carol D’Auria reported.
After a complete search of the school, police found a NERF gun, but no arrests were made, D’Auria reported. That NERF gun was located in a student locker “that fit the description of the original call,” police said in a news release.
But for for several hours, the situation was a mystery: Who was the teen? Did he have a gun? Did he go into the school?
“We heard a lot of people screaming and running away, so we just left,” 12th grader Jonathan David told CBS 2’s John Slattery.
“I don’t know if there was somebody in the school who was dangerous or outside,” added 10th grader Makila Myers.
The students inside were held for nearly four hours, while police, including SWAT teams, searched the school.
The school made “robo-calls” to alert parents of the situation and some students arriving at the school as the lockdown began were sent back home.
Nassau County Police guarded the entrance of the school as officers searched the building room by room, D’Auria reported.
SWAT teams were also seen in front of the school building. Police had also searched the surrounding area by helicopter.
As police conducted a search, classroom doors were locked and students either hid under their desks or went to the back of the room away from the windows.
“We were sitting in the back of the classroom without the lights on,” one 10th grader said. “I was nervous, I was scared.”
Worried parents gathered outside the school as their children remained inside the locked-down building.
“Sandy Hook definitely went through my mind and I didn’t know exactly what was going on,” one mother said.
Authorities said there were no arrests and that all students and staff members were “safe and secure.”
The lockdown was lifted around 12:30 p.m., at which point children were allowed to go home with their parents or stay for a shortened school day.
No one was injured and police said the toy will be returned to the parents of the student.