Laguna police: Early morning 'gunshots' were actually firecrackers

Residents were asked to stay inside their homes early Wednesday morning as a police helicopter flew over Laguna Beach after what sounded like gunshots were heard in the canyon.

Around 10:30 a.m. Wednesday, Sgt. Louise Callus confirmed in an email that the "shots" are now believed to have been large firecrackers, after remnants of possible M80s were found in the back parking lot area at 837 Laguna Canyon Road.

Police first received call at 12:28 a.m. of a possible shot fired near [seven-degrees], Callus said in an earlier email.

When an officer responded, he noticed two male subjects standing in the parking lot west of [seven-degrees]. After driving about halfway into the lot, he reported hearing what sounded like five to six gunshots. Callus said the officer was 85% sure that the sounds were gunshots.

Additional units arrived on the scene, and the two men were detained at gunpoint and handcuffed. A perimeter was set up because officers weren't sure if the men had fired the gunshots or if there were more suspects in the area, Callus said. The men turned out to be Pageant of the Masters employees and were released. They told police they had heard the shots as well.

At this time, the Huntington Beach police helicopter was requested along with two K-9 units and a sergeant from the Anaheim Police Department. The helicopter used night vision and thermal imaging technology to search the hillsides.

Anaheim and Laguna Beach police searched the area from the Laguna College of Art & Design to the Sawdust Art Festival grounds, according to Callus.

After about two hours, no suspect was found and the scene was cleared.

Police asked residents to stay inside their homes due to the uncertainty of the call and because K-9 units were involved, Callus said.

Twitter: @joannaclay

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