Stevenson University's Owings Mills campus was locked down for three hours Monday afternoon as authorities investigated reports of an armed person on campus that turned out to have been sparked by a pellet gun.
Police said in the early evening that they did not believe any crimes had been committed, ending a tense several hours on the campus, which is separate from Stevenson's location on Greenspring Valley Road.
The initial call came at about 2:30 p.m. Monday, authorities said, after two people saw what they thought was a person with a weapon and called 911.
Investigators recovered a pellet gun from a vehicle on campus, and police said two students voluntarily came out of a building to be questioned by police about the incident.
The students had been hunting in the woods with two BB rifles near campus, according to a statement from Stevenson's president, Kevin J. Manning.
"We are proud of the response of our security staff, students and others in acting quickly and cooperatively with our campus alerts," he said. "While we are relieved with this safe outcome, this has been a sobering experience for us and our families. This reminds us all of the importance of our 'see something, say something' mantra."
By about 4 p.m., police said there were no injuries reported. The school lifted the lockdown about 5 p.m. but canceled evening activities.
Students received the alert via text messages and communications that popped up on campus computers, said Shayna Hardesty, a 27-year-old senior who was locked down with her photography class on the university's adjacent Owings Mills North campus.
Students were concerned because the alert offered little detailed information, she said.
Several students said they waited in locked classrooms for updates. Many turned to social media but found conflicting reports about the incident.
Nyah Reese, 19, said she and her classmates huddled together in a classroom corner until officers informed them it was safe to leave.
"I saw some kids crying," she said, adding that she remained calm. "I was a little scared."
Student Brandon Koontz was just finishing lunch at Subway and was headed back to his campus apartment when he received the text alert from the university. He said he was immediately concerned about his friends and began calling to make sure they were safe.
He said he doesn't feel unsafe at school.
"This is the first big thing that has happened at Stevenson. It's a good school. This doesn't take anything away from that," he said
Several parents and other students waited anxiously outside the entrance to the campus.
Lisa Oliveras said her twin 19-year-old daughters were frantic when the alert came over. She said they had to remain in separate classes inside the same building.
"They were upset they couldn't get to each other," she said. "They started texting and calling me."
She said she came to the school to be there when they were released. "I just wanted to make sure they were OK, to hug my children, to see them," Oliveras said.
Nearby St. Timothy's School, an all-girls private boarding school, also was briefly on lockdown, a school official said.
Baltimore Sun reporter Erica L. Green contributed to this article.Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun