Search for reported man with rifle called off
Officers have called off the search for a man who may have had a rifle when he was spotted at one of Nassau's most visible business centers, the RXR Plaza in Uniondale, Nassau police said.
It may have been an unfounded alarm when a 911 caller inside the highrise-commercial building saw a man "possibly with a rifle" walking in the parking lot of the business complex shortly before 1 p.m., police said.
The search was called off about 3 p.m., police said.
Police said the caller reported it could have been an umbrella instead of a rifle, but as a precaution, East Meadow schools and Kellenberg High School locked down their premises.
Officers from the First and Third Precincts and the aviation unit converged on the area surrounding the landmark business complex, located by the Meadowbrook State Parkway and Hempstead Turnpike. It was once known as the EAB Plaza, and houses legal, security, printing and other businesses.
The school lockdowns were lifted by 2:30 p.m., authorities said.
At Kellenberg, the principal said he got a call from the First Precinct about a man with a rifle or umbrella and instituted a "lockout," which meant people could move freely inside the building but no one could go in or out.
"The danger was outside the building, not in the building," said Brother Kenneth Hoagland. "We just continued our normal day."
Parents were sent messages about the lockout, he said.
Hoagland said he will be writing about such modern-day alarms in this weekend's calendar updates to parents.
"One of the things we may tell parents is this may happen more frequently," Hoagland said.
After several high-profile shootings at schools, parents are nervous, the principal said, and he wants them to know that school lockouts may just be a precaution.
"We want to be overcautious," he said.
At 3 p.m., officers were still on the alert for any possible gunman in the Uniondale area but were starting to wrap up the search, police said.
No other details were immediately available.