Update: Lockdown at Vancouver Island University lifted

NANAIMO – Police searched Vancouver Island University campus after possible sighting of man with firearm Thursday morning

Nanaimo RCMP concluded its search and lifted a lockdown of Vancouver Island University’s Nanaimo campus Thursday morning after failing to turn up evidence of a man with a gun.

VIU activated its emergency protocols after a report of a man on site with a possible firearm. Police were notified at 10:29 a.m., according to Const. Gary O’Brien, Nanaimo RCMP spokesman. As per VIU policy, all students and staff were locked within their respective buildings.

“There was one call of a guy walking around on campus with what appeared to be a firearm in his back pocket,” O’Brien said during the lockdown. “We have a description of the individual and the campus is on lockdown as per protocol.”

Nanaimo RCMP brought in the police services dog team to aid in the search for the suspect. They concluded the search at 11 a.m. after being unable to locate the suspect. They then advised senior VIU administration who lifted the lockdown, O’Brien wrote in a subsequent press release updating the situation.

Mounties are continuing the investigation and will review surveillance camera footage and speak with witnesses.

Anyone with information about the incident, please call the Nanaimo RCMP at 250-754-2345 or contact Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477, text 274637, keyword Nanaimo or submit a tip online at www.nanaimocrimestoppers.co.

The VIU incident also sparked a hold-and-secure order at neighbouring Nanaimo School District administration offices and Nanaimo District Secondary School.

Nanaimo School District spokesman Dale Burgos said in an e-mail Hammond Bay School also went into a hold-and-secure status due to an unrelated matter that occurred around the same time as the VIU incident.

A hold-and-secure protocol means school entry doors are locked, but classes and administration operations continue on a business as usual basis.