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Students barricaded in Montreal school after report of armed man nearby

Associated Press Writer

MONTREAL- Students were brought inside and barricaded in the school gym after some of them said they saw an armed man in a nearby park, but the incident was a false alarm, Montreal police and school board officials said.

Police rushed to Les-Enfants-Du-Monde primary school after receiving the call at midday and established a perimeter but determined that there was no threat to the West-end public school of some 400 students from 5 to 12 years old.

"The operation near a school, with a man who was possibly armed, is over," police spokeswoman Anie Lemieux said shortly after 2 p.m. (1800 GMT). "No suspect was found."

The incident occurred three weeks to the day after an armed man entered Montreal's Dawson College, killing one woman and injuring 19 people before taking his own life.

It also follows a series of U.S. school shootings. A gunman killed himself and five girls Monday at a one-room Amish schoolhouse in Pennsylvania; on Friday a 15-year-old Wisconsin student shot and killed his principal; and last Wednesday a man took six girls hostage in Colorado, sexually assaulting them before fatally shooting one girl and killing himself.

"The children were never in danger or in contact with the individual," said Sylvain Arsenault of the Montreal school board. "We called the parents to tell them to pick up their children; we didn't want them to take any chances on the way home."

Arsenault said police quickly arrived on the scene, while the school board's trauma team was also called in just to be safe.

"We have to be prudent without bordering on paranoia," he said, referring to other recent school incidents.

Police across Quebec investigated over half a dozen threats against Quebec schools in the days following the shooting at Dawson College.

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