Multiple police vehicles were outside R.E. Mountain Secondary in Willoughby Friday morning. By 10:30 a.m. most of the officers left the scene.

UPDATED: School lockdown caused by barbecue lighter

A man with mental health issues has been taken into custody and no weapon has been found.

Langley’s R.E. Mountain Secondary was locked down for several hours Friday morning, but the incident was caused by rumours and one man with mental health issues.

At about 8:45 a.m. Friday morning, police were alerted about a man, possibly armed with a gun, near the school.

Cpl. Holly Largy said a student spotted the man acting oddly in a field near the school and told the principal the man might be on drugs.

The man was holding a barbecue lighter, which might have been what was mistaken for a weapon, Largy said.

Langley RCMP immediately requested a “Code Red Lockdown” of R.E. Mountain Secondary.

The man nearby was quickly detained, Largy said. He did not present a threat, and was taken to hospital under the Mental Health Act.

However, a rumour about a school shooting then sprang up.

Largy said the rumour started before the incident when one student overheard two others joking about Friday – which was report card day – being the day the school would be shot up.

After the student who had overheard the joke arrived to find police already at R.E. Mountain, that student told a teacher about the rumour.

Police then reinforced their presence with the Emergency Response Team.

Largy said a large number of police officers were involved, including the ERT, general duty officers, the Police Dog Service which searched for the suspected gun, and plainclothes officers doing surveillance in the surrounding area.

 

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