HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - There was supposed to be an emergency drill but instead it turned into a real life alert Tuesday at Honolulu Community College.
At the same time nine University of Hawaii campuses were issuing test alerts, Honolulu Community College was sending out messages saying 'this is not a drill' and warning people on campus of a man possibly carrying a rifle.
"It puts you through the stress of being under that kind of pressure very quickly which is good because we want to be ready," said Erika Lacro, PhD., Honolulu Community College Chancellor.
Honolulu Police got a call from an anonymous person saying there was a man in the area near campus with a rifle. An HPD officer asked an HCC security guard if they had seen anything. After that the alert went out, classes responded and some students feared the worst.
"Well I'm going to die but not today. And I was worried about my three and a half year old and I was hoping to be able to see him after," said Wendy-Ashley Lim, Honolulu Community College student.
Students say some teachers took every precaution.
"(The professor) just said to clear the area. Put our bags underneath the table to make an open walkway. She had a few people tape up the windows, lock the door and turn out the lights," said Lim. "I was like please don't come in the room because I want to be alive. I don't want to die yet. I was scared."
Others left before the all clear was given.
"Everybody from HCC got a text message. Security advised us to stay in class a little bit. And then we dipped out," said Edward Puesta, Honolulu Community College student. "Our teacher just told us I guess its okay."
No gunman was ever found. The all clear message was given in about half an hour. It appears to be a coincidence it happened at the same time as the scheduled emergency drill.
"I am still, I guess shocked about it. My heart is still beating fast but I'm relieved that it's not happening," said Lim.
"Everybody was pretty scared," said Puesta.
"We do quite a bit of training for these exercises," said Chancellor Lacro, as police cars with sirens on sped by on an unrelated call. "It is a coincidence that we were getting ready to do the test which may have confused people, so we made sure it said, 'This is not a test. Be on the lookout.' But in essence we were geared up more than we would be because we were ready to do our testing."
The following is the text of the alert that was posted on the Honolulu Community College website:
This is not a test. HPD has advised campus security that a male wearing khaki shorts, no shirt, and possibly carrying a rifle maybe in the Honolulu CC area. There is no indication that the male has entered campus; however, Honolulu CC Administration is advising you to be on the look out for said individual and contact 911 or campus security (808-284-1270) immediately.
At 10:55 a.m., HPD declared an all-clear and deemed the situation safe. School officials posted the following message on their website at 10:52 a.m.:
HPD has declared an all clear. They have checked the area and no threat was found.
There was also a false alarm at Hawaii Pacific University's downtown campus but school officials say there was never an alert and no report of a second gunman call. According to the administration and Honolulu Police a Fort Street Mall security guard misread the alert for HCC and was verbally telling students at HPU.