Fake gun sparks lockdown at Long Beach City College campus

Police locked down Long Beach City College’s Pacific Coast Campus after reports of a gunman at the school, but the incident turned out to be a false alarm.

“There was never a threat to the campus or students there because it was a replica firearm,” Long Beach police department spokeswoman Jennifer De Prez said.

A staff member at the campus said it was a prop for a film class. When someone saw the gun, however, they called it in to police.

Police at LBCC Wednesday morning after a fake gun prompted a lockdown. Photo by Valerie Osier.

Officers first swarmed the campus at Pacific Coast Highway and Orange Avenue around 10:30 a.m., and the college sent out an alert warning people to hide.

“There is a possible suspect with a gun at PCC. Take safe shelter in the nearest room, and lock door. Silence cells, call 911 if you have info about suspect and if safe,” an alert sent to students said.

Juan Sanchez was hanging out in the Student Union when a staff member came in and told him and his friends that someone was walking around with a weapon and they had to find a room they could lock down.

“We just left our stuff here and went to the shelter room,” Sanchez said.

Meanwhile, his friend Richard Yracheta had been leaving the library when he and a friend saw a cop car. Initially they joked with each other, saying, “What’d you do?” But then they saw a helicopter flying overhead and more police cars.

“A lady was screaming ‘Clear the area’ but didn’t say what happened,” Yracheta said.

For 30 minutes, they watched police walking around the school, some holding 12-gauge shotguns, and didn’t know what was going on. The emergency alert didn’t hit many students’ phones until after the incident was over, they said.

“It was scary; I was worried for my friends’ lives,” Yracheta said.

Police began clearing the scene around 11 a.m. after confirming there was no threat.

Nobody was hurt and police don’t expect to arrest anyone because the situation appears to be just a misunderstanding, De Prez said

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Valerie Osier is a breaking news and crime reporter for the Long Beach Post. She’s a Riverside native who found her love for journalism while at community college. She graduated from Cal State University, Long Beach journalism program in 2017 and covered the Palos Verdes Peninsula for the Daily Breeze prior to coming to the Post. She lives in Long Beach with her husband, Steven, and her cat/child, Jones.