Paintball gun prompts lockdown at CPCC, nearby school

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HUNTERSVILLE, N.C. —

Central Piedmont Community College was put to the test Wednesday as police scoured the school's Huntersville campus for a man possibly carrying a gun.

Channel 9 covered the story from the air and on the ground and looked into how the school's new response system handled the emergency.

The school's Merancas Campus was placed on lockdown after someone reported seeing two men carrying a gun.

Nearby Lake Norman Charter was also placed on lockdown.

"What appeared to be a gun, almost 100 percent sure, and walked toward the school," Huntersville Police Chief Michael Kee described the report.

Reid Wilson told Channel 9 he saw the woman who called 911 crying and talking to police.

Then Wilson said police took off running with guns drawn.

A short time later his class was locked down.

"We saw helicopters out the window and outside our door, a bunch of police running through the hallways," Wilson said.

Police found nothing.

The lockdown was lifted shortly before noon.

Investigators were able to track down the men and found out it was a paintball gun the men were seen carrying.

But the scare was a good test of CPCC's new emergency alert system.

School officials said this was the first use of its new emergency alert system which they said worked well.

It utilizes email, text, voicemail and social media.

The call to police came in 10:30 a.m.

CPCC first learned of the search at 10:42 a.m., drafted a message by 10:54 a.m. and sent it out at 10:59 a.m.

A student showed Channel 9 the email he received at 11:07 a.m.

The message said the campus is "sheltering in place," police are "searching for a potential suspect" and to "suspend travel to this location."

Students and staff said they were happy with their schools response.

Police said they used the license plate number from the car to track the man down at work and determined he was holding a paintball gun.

They said he won't face any charges.