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Schools, Mayo Clinic in Austin cleared from lockdown

Austin Police and Mower County Sheriff’s Office vehicles gather outside Austin High School this afternoon after an altercation outside a southwest exit. - Eric Johnson/Albert Lea Tribune

Austin Police and Mower County Sheriff’s Office vehicles gather outside Austin High School this afternoon after an altercation outside a southwest exit. – Eric Johnson/Albert Lea Tribune

AUSTIN — Austin Police and Mower County Deputies responded Monday afternoon to Austin High School after a report of a fight and possible gun outside the school.

Law enforcement responded at around 3:15 p.m. for a fight taking place outside the southwest entrance of the school, possibly involving a gun.

“A witness stated someone had a gun,” Austin Police Chief Brian Krueger said. “We tracked down the individual, but he had no gun on him.”

Austin Public Schools Executive Director of Education Services John Alberts confirmed the incident took place after school and also said there was no gun.

“The liaison officer, when he responded, had heard a report of a gun being involved,” Alberts said. “So for the safety of the students he responded the way he should have.”

Krueger said Austin High School then went into lockdown for about 30 to 35 minutes before the school was declared safe and students were permitted to leave. According to other reports, both Pacelli Catholic School and Mayo Clinic Health System in Austin were locked down as well.

Mayo officials confirmed the medical center had been on lockdown and that it is standard procedure for incidents like this.

In a letter to parents Pacelli officials confirmed that they were in a soft lockdown which meant both the high school and elementary schools were locked down and students and staff were not allowed to leave.

Pacelli was cleared to open at around 3:45 p.m.

Rosa Recio was outside the school with her fiancé Robert Finch waiting to pick up her three nieces shortly after the incident.

“They are being kept in the gym,” Recio said. “They just called to let us know they are locked in.”

Krueger said as of Monday afternoon no gun had been found. He also said that two adults may have been involved but that police are still investigating.

Alberts said extra security measures will be put in place Tuesday.

“A few of the things I can tell you is that additional staff will be available at the doors, and students will be checked to see they don’t have something they shouldn’t have,” Alberts said.

In an email to parents and students, AHS Principal Katie Baskin confirmed additional security measures would be in place today. All activities scheduled to start before 7:30 a.m. at the school were canceled, and the school was slated to open at 7:30 a.m. All students would be required to enter through doors No. 1 and No. 13 on the east side of the building.

Students will not be able to leave the school and will be required to stay on site for lunch.

“Just extra vigilance,” Alberts said. “Everyone responded the way we were supposed to and that’s why we practice these things.”

All Homecoming activities were slated to continue as planned.