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Police respond to a hoax call of an active shooter at Library West

Police responded to a hoax call on Wednesday morning. (Richard Bennett/WUFT News)
Police responded to a hoax call on Wednesday morning. (Richard Bennett/WUFT News)

The University of Florida Police Department, alongside the Gainesville Police Department, responded to a hoax call on Wednesday morning.

The call into the Combined Communications Center at 8:45 a.m. was from a man who claimed that he was headed to Library West armed with a rifle and was “prepared to die,” according to a University of Florida press release.

The center received a second call at 8:52 a.m., claiming a man was seen with a rifle. However, this claim may have been from someone mistaking an armed officer for a shooter.

Students and staff were quickly evacuated from the building once officers arrived.

The university sent UF Alerts shortly after the officers entered the building, warning students to stay away from the library.

A UF employee at the scene, Mike Tackett, said people inside the library were caught off guard by the sudden influx of police. No one knew what was happening, he said.

“Our officers, along with the Gainesville Police Department, responded to the library and ensured that it was cleared, that there was no active assailant,” UFPD Cpt. Latrell Simmons said in an interview with WUFT.

Police deemed the risk around the incident dangerous enough to bring in a GPD unit to search the library to ensure the area was safe from any threats before allowing students to return.

The area was ruled safe at 9:23 a.m. An alert was sent to faculty and students to notify them at 9:28 a.m. that the library was secure.

Richard is a reporter for WUFT News who can be reached by calling 352-392-6397 or emailing news@wuft.org.