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Texas A&M gunman alert during Bushes' visit called misunderstanding

A Texas A&M University lockdown over a suspected gunman on campus as Bush family members visited appears to be a misunderstanding; rifle-toting cadet questioned.
/ Source: NBC News and news services

Texas A&M University locked down its main campus Thursday after a report that a suspected gunman had been spotted while the Bush family was on campus.

The incident appeared to be a misunderstanding, NBC News reported.

A member of the Texas A&M Corps of Cadets was walking down the street with his rifle about 2 miles from where the Bush family was, NBC said.

The university's notification system, called "Code Maroon," sent a message at 5:35 p.m.: “All Clear. Person with replica weapon identified. No danger. Resume normal activity.”

Earlier, a campus bus driver was on his route around 4 p.m. when he reported seeing an individual carrying a weapon, possibly a rifle, near a building next to the student union, according to A&M spokesman Lane Stephenson.

The situation at first raised fears of what happened last month when a student opened fire on the University of Texas campus in Austin before he eventually turned the gun on himself in the library.

A&M's emergency notification system sent texts and e-mails telling students, faculty and staff to remain indoors while police looked for the suspected gunman. Students reported seeing police, including SWAT team members, searched all over campus.

About two hours later, students, faculty and staff were notified that there was no danger and they could resume normal activities.

"University officials believe the basis for the report was an individual who had in his possession a 'dummy' rifle — a replica," according to the A&M statement.

The person with the replica rifle had apparently walked through Rudder Tower on his way to the western part of campus, where he got into his car and drove home, A&M officials said.

The university said no actual weapon had been found.

About two miles away from where the suspected gunman was spotted, the university was to hold an event where former President George H.W. Bush and his wife Barbara were hosting former first lady Laura Bush at the George Bush Presidential Library Center. Stephenson said the Bush event was still planned as scheduled.

The A&M campus, which ranks as the nation's sixth-largest university in enrollment with more than 49,000 students, is 95 miles northwest of Houston.