Students milled around parking lots on the outskirts of East Los Angeles College on Thursday morning after a shooting threat prompted an evacuation of the campus, along with lockdowns at other Monterey Park schools.
All Monterey Park schools were locked down and the college cleared after an anonymous cellphone caller threatened to "shoot up" an unknown campus Thursday morning, authorities said.
Officers have been deployed to all Monterey Park schools and 10 campuses have been locked down, though Monterey Park police Chief Jim Smith cautioned the information was "really sketchy" and no gunman has been seen.
Nicola Nishida, a spokeswoman for the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department, said authorities were "very diligently and methodically going through every room" and investigating the phone threat.
"We take every threat very seriously and this is what we're doing as a precautionary measure to ensure the safety of the students and residents," she told reporters.
Richard Medina, a third-year student at East L.A. College, said he was heading to his 8:30 a.m. class when a police officer turned him away. Medina waited in a nearby Carl's Jr. parking lot with other students.
"Right now they're just saying there's an emergency evacuation," he said. "The parking lot is full of students. A lot of them are being turned back and waiting right here to see what's going on."
Medina said he had spotted about six helicopters overhead, along with officers from the sheriff's department, California Highway Patrol and Monterey Park police. Police are "all over the area," he said.
Daniel Black, a journalism student, said he had just gotten off the bus when he saw police cars. He said he thought it was a car accident.
"A bunch of stupid crimes happen here all the time," he said. "I thought it was nothing."
Some students snapped cellphone photos of the helicopters as they waited.
Floral Drive and Ceasar Chavez Avenue, which bound the campus on the north and south, respectively, were closed between Mednick Avenue and Atlantic Boulevard.
A source familiar with the investigation said a caller on a cellphone threatened a shooting at a large school in Monterey Park. The call was routed through the CHP and then the sheriff's office.
A dispatcher with the CHP said it received a call about 7:14 a.m.
The shooting was supposed to happen at 8 a.m., the caller said.
Authorities traced the call and found that the nearest campus to the caller was East L.A. College and sent the information to the sheriff's department. No specific campus was named in the threat, Monterey Park police said.
There was another threat of gun violence at Santa Monica College on Thursday morning, law enforcement sources said. It was not clear if the two incidents were related.
Both Santa Monica College and John Adams Middle School were locked down.