By JOSH FRIEDMAN
A report of a man with a rifle led to the lockdown of three schools in Atascadero on Wednesday, as well as a police search that culminated with officers failing to locate an individual matching the description of the suspect.
Shortly after 1:15 p.m., two students at North County Christian School reported witnessing a man with a long gun in the creekbed behind the campus, according to the Atascadero Police Department. Officers arrived at the scene and searched the creekbed.
Personnel from several law enforcement agencies joined the search. Law enforcement also used a helicopter and two drones to search for the suspect.
Authorities placed North County Christian on lockdown. They also placed Atascadero High School and Atascadero Middle School on lockdown. Likewise, authorities closed some roads in the area to traffic.
By about 2 p.m., the lockdowns at North County Christian and Atascadero Middle School were lifted, while Atascadero High School remained under a shelter in place order.
At about 2:40 p.m., Atascadero High School reopened after officers determined the suspect was no longer in the area. Parents were free to pick up their children as they normally do from any of the schools.
Police concluded the formal search for the suspect shortly after 3 p.m. Officers were unable to locate anyone in the creek area, the police department said.
Authorities reopened roads, and patrol officers remained in the area after police called off the formal search. Anyone who has information about the reported man with a gun is asked to call the police department at (805) 461-5051.