SOUTHWEST MIAMI-DADE, FLA. (WSVN) - A lockdown has been lifted at Miami-Dade College’s Kendall campus after reports of a suspicious person possibly armed with a rifle turned out to be a false alarm.
The subject was detained but later released after officers discovered the item in question was an umbrella, police said.
Wednesday morning’s tip came in after someone saw the man riding around on his bicycle around the area with a contraption sticking out of his backpack that looked like a weapon.
Miami-Dade Police units responded quickly to the alarm and detained the man just before 9:45 a.m., about a half hour after they received the call.
“Thankfully, the person that was detained has a book bag on, a military-style book bag, that had an umbrella coming out of the book bag that looked like a rifle,” said MDPD detective Luis Sierra.
The man was seen sitting on the sidewalk in handcuffs.
Even through the threat was a false alarm, police said, the quick response was real.
“This is a perfect example of how the police department is ready to act on any of these scenarios,” said Sierra. “I want to thank the person that called it in and realized [the subject had] what could have been a rifle. It was an excellent job by that person being vigilant.”
Students and teachers were at the school, but classes were not disrupted as the academic year starts next Monday.
“I tried to get into the building, but then a security officer asked me to turn around,” said student Jose Fraga. “I didn’t know what was going on, but he just told me it was locked down.”
Although there was no cause for panic, the people at the school were grateful that local police responded quickly and took this incident as an exercise for the real deal. I saw the helicopters, police cars, police vans just come in super quick. They blockaded the parking lots.”
“You know, this is a new day,” said Juan Mendieta, a spokesperson for the school. “These situations have to be taken seriously. Anybody who has a responsibility protecting children and students has to take this seriously.”
“I’m grateful that it was done quickly,” said Fraga.
The lockdown comes nearly three months after a gunman opened fire inside Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas, killing 19 children and two teachers. The mass shooting sparked criticism over the Uvalde Police Department officers’ slow response.
MDC officials said Wednesday’s lockdown served as an exercise, and it makes them feel confident for the upcoming school year.
Students said they feel safer as well.
“I feel good knowing that the police around here, they do a good job of keeping us safe and stuff,” said a student.
Detectives said the man who was detained has no affiliation to the college, as they continue to investigate.
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