‘Soft Lockdown’ Lifted at Johnston School Following Report of Man with Gun

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JOHNSTON, Iowa - Law enforcement officials are investigating after a student reported seeing a man with a gun near a Johnston Elementary School.

Officers responded to the area around Timber Ridge Elementary School, located at 7370 NW 54th Street,  at about 12:45 p.m. after students reported seeing a man with a gun walking into the woods near the school.

Associate Superintendent of Johnston Schools Bruce Amendt told Channel 13 News that students were at recess when some of them noticed what they said was a "hunter" with a gun going into the woods. They notified the playground supervisor and all of the children were brought inside.

The school was not under an official lockdown but Amendt said the school is secure and locked, as it is during all school days.

The school shared the following statement with parents:

"This announcement is to inform you that Timber Ridge Elementary School has been placed in a soft lockdown due to students reporting seeing an individual in the woods, described as a hunter, with a potential weapon.   The Johnston Police Department is currently on site and is searching the area.  No threats were made to any students and all children are secure and inside the buildling.  Parents are being asked to refrain from driving to Timber Ridge so that the police department can continue their search. More details will be following shortly."

Shortly before 2 p.m., officials lifted the "soft lockdown" at the school. Police said they will maintain a presence at the school for the rest of the afternoon.

"The Johnston Police Department has completed their search of the woods around TimberRidge Elementary School. No persons or evidence as such have been found," the school district said in an email to parents. "A police officer will stay on site until the end of the school day and the building will be returning to a normal schedule and procedures. Thank you to all the staff, parents and city employees who helped in response to this situation. It is always better to be overcautious in these situations."