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University of Oklahoma says shooting report was false alarm

By Heide Brandes

NORMAN, Oklahoma (Reuters) - Reports of shots being fired at the University of Oklahoma on Wednesday turned out to be false and no evidence has been found of a weapon being discharged on campus, University President David Boren told reporters.

The university issued an alert of a shooting on campus a little before noon local time and told students to remain indoors. About 30 minutes later, it issued another alert saying there was no evidence of shots being fired.

"At this point, it appears to have been a false alarm but all the right things were done and all the people involved in them did the right things," Boren said at a news conference.

A faculty member, believing shots had been fired, alerted police immediately. Police informed Boren, who then ordered a text message alert that went university-wide.

"Our system worked. We are just thankful that no one was injured at all," Boren said.

Boren said there was construction going on around Gould Hall, the building from where people thought they heard shots, and that may have been the reason for the confusion.

Dozens of emergency vehicles were sent to the campus in Norman, about 20 miles south of Oklahoma City, including a Norman police SWAT team. The University of Oklahoma, founded in 1890, has an enrollment of about 30,000 students.

The incident came just a day after a man was shot to death at Indiana's Purdue University and amid heightened concerns over a rash of shootings at U.S. schools in recent weeks.

The frequency of shootings at schools and universities in the United States is fueling the national debate over gun control. On Monday night, a student was shot and critically wounded outside an athletic center at Widener University in Chester, Pennsylvania, near Philadelphia.

Yale University also ordered a lockdown on November 25 after reports a gunman was heading to its New Haven, Connecticut, campus but lifted it after finding no evidence of the armed man.

"I think what has to be the most unwise thing we can do is put guns in the hands of everyone on campus. I am strongly opposed to arming people without proper training," Boren told the news conference.

(Reporting by Mary Wisniewski, Lisa Maria Garza, Heide Brandes and Brendan O'Brien; Writing by David Bailey and Jon Herskovitz; Editing by Gunna Dickson)

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