Students, staff and parents of four south-Ottawa schools were forced to deal with some tense moments after reports of a gunman in the Alta Vista area on Thursday, Sept. 11, 2014.

“I didn’t know what was going on,” grade ten Ridgemont High School student Wehliye Dubed told CTV.

Ottawa Police received a call around 11a.m., after a student at Charles H. Hulse Public School at 2605 Alta Vista Drive, reported seeing someone with a gun in the bushes near the school.

“As a result of that we set up a perimeter around the bush area,” said Ottawa police Inspector John Medeiros, “we went in through the bush with our canine unit just to see if there was anyone or anything in there.”

As a result, police and the school boards put four schools into “secure school mode”.

“I didn’t see anything,” said grade eleven Ridgemont H.S. student Axel Bgar, “they told us to keep away from the windows.”

Students at Charles H. Hulse Public School, Ridgemont High School, St. Patrick’s High School and St. Patrick’s Intermediate School, were forced to stay in their classrooms for up to three hours, many without lunch or bathroom breaks.

Police tactical and canine units scoured the area for nearly three hours before clearing the scene.  No gunman was ever located.  Medeiros won’t say if they believe the call was a hoax, “whether there is truth in it or not we still have to take precautions, so part of our role will be to have our investigators called out to the scene, they’ll interview the witnesses and determine exactly what happened.”

This isn’t the first time police have been called to the school to investigate reports of a gunman.  A student at Charles H. Hulse claimed to have seen the same thing back in June, 2014.  No suspect was ever located.  Police don’t believe the two calls are connected in any way.  

“The climate that we live in today we have to take precautions to make sure that students are safe,” says Medeiros, “when we get a call of this nature, we must take precautions.”