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Sound of Nail Gun Prompts SMC Campus Lockdown  

By Jason Islas
Lookout Staff

August 17, 2011 – Daily business at Santa Monica College was interrupted Tuesday when, following reports of gunfire, SMC police locked down the campus.

Police put gear away after SMC lockdown. Photo by Ann K. Williams

A student's mother had received a worried call from her daughter, who said she had heard gunshots while she was on campus. The mother, who lives in Riverside, called her local police department.

The Riverside Sheriff's Office then called SMC police just after 11 a.m., according Bruce Smith, the college's public information officer.

College police immediately ordered a campus-wide lockdown.

Santa Monica Police Sergeant Richard Lewis said that although it turned out that there was no actual gunfire, it was a good call.

The young lady had heard sounds from a nearby construction site, where workers were using a heavy-duty nail gun, said Lewis.

“When it goes off, it sounds like small arms fire,” Lewis said of the tool construction workers were using.

With the help of the Santa Monica Police Department, the Los Angeles Police Department Air Support, Santa Monica Fire Department, and emergency rescue teams, the campus police conducted a thorough sweep of the area.

Once the search was completed and no gunman was found, Campus Police Chief Al Vasquez ordered that the lockdown be called off just after noon, and the campus returned to normal.

Because school is not in session, there were a minimal number of people on campus. According to Smith, “employees and some students [were] on campus registering for classes, buying books or conducting other business.”


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