KIRTLAND, Ohio — Lakeland Community College has canceled classes after police received a report of a threat against the institution.
Around 5:45 p.m. Thursday, Kirtland police received a call from someone threatening Lakeland Community College’s main campus. Police said the caller claimed to have an assault rifle and bombs in a building on campus.
“Basically stated that he had an M-16 and some pipe bombs and that he was in a certain location that didn’t make sense to us,” said Kirtland Police Chief Lance Nosse.
Kirtland police suspected the call might have been a hoax, but they could not afford to take any chances. They contacted Lakeland, and the college, with about 2,000 people, was first put on lockdown, then evacuated.
“We tried to keep the party on the line, but we could tell he was cutting us out intentionally and it was probably an 18-minute phone call total,” Nosse said.
After their initial sweep of the campus authorities determined there is no evidence to substantiate the threat.
Lakeland’s police chief said because of the heavy response from other departments, they were able to clear the campus quickly, but the hoax took away resources for other calls.
“We appreciate the fact that all those guys came and helped us, it’s a big relief on our manpower and help that we couldn’t do alone, but you’re right, it does drain resources and manpower for everybody,” said Lakeland’s police chief Ron Morenz.
Kirtland police said this is the latest in a recent string of swatting calls made to police departments across Lake County. They say the call could have been placed from anywhere in the world.
“The number was determined to be a web-based phone number that we’re still actually investigating to determine its actual location and the origin,” said Chief Nosse.
Nosse said investigators are pursuing several leads.
Lakeland Community College canceled all classes and events scheduled for Thursday. They said that although they are unable to substantiate the claims of the threat, they closed campus as a precaution.
Campus is expected to reopen Friday, March 1.
Police are continuing their investigation. More information will be provided as it becomes available.