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Students Sent Home Early After Phone Threats Lock Down Fairfield Schools

FAIRFIELD, Conn. (CBSNewYork/AP) -- All public schools in Fairfield, Connecticut were dismissed early Friday following a lockdown in response to phoned-in gun and bomb threats.

Police said they received a call shortly after 9 a.m. about a possible armed hostage situation, but responding officers could not find the address and now believe it was a hoax.

As police were dealing with that, threats were phoned in to three schools.

According to authorities, one school received a call from a man saying he was headed there with a rifle. Another school was called by a person saying there were bombs there. A third threat was made that mentioned a pipe bomb at Roger Ludlowe Middle School, CBS2's Sonia Rincon reported.

All of the town's 17 public schools were immediately placed on lockdown as a precautionary measure, police said. Around 11:15 a.m., they were in "lockout mode," meaning no one is allowed to enter or leave any school buildings.

"We prepare for this, we train for this and all of our school children in the town of Fairfield at this particular moment are safe and secure," Police Chief Gary MacNamara said.

"We were all in an auditorium and we had to go behind the curtains and sit there for an hour and 30 minutes," eighth-grader Emily Calarco said.

All students and schools are secure and our investigation into the source of today's threats is on going. Anyone with...

Posted by Fairfield Police Department - Connecticut on Friday, October 23, 2015

The school district said on its website that police are taking the threats seriously.

"Our principal said that the police were around the school -- looking around the school -- and I kind of panicked," said sophomore Jamie Giannetti.

"You could like, tell, in our principals voice that he was like slightly afraid for our safety," said junior Stephanie Adams.

Officers from several surrounding towns were called in to assist as police checked the schools.

Authorities told parents that inspections so far have turned up no credible evidence of a threat.

"It was eerily reminiscent of hearing the Sandy Hook news," said parent Meg Kuhm. "When that came out and you sort of had no idea and you're hearing all sorts of different stories."

An extra police presence remained at the schools a students were dismissed early.

All after-school activities were canceled.

The focus now is on finding those who made the threats, and whether the hoax hostage call was connected, MacNamara said.

Police said the threats were clearly meant to cause mass disruption.

"Our children are safe in the town of Fairfield. However, we recognize and truly understand that there are thousands of parents right now who are very scared," said MacNamara.

The investigation is ongoing.

(TM and © Copyright 2015 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2015 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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