Report of gunman at Northwestern University was a hoax, police say

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EVANSTON, Ill. -- Police said the report of a gunman at Northwestern University was a hoax and "swatting incident." Police said they found no evidence after reports of shots fired on the campus.

Around 2:17 p.m. on Wednesday, police said they got a call from an individual claiming to have shot his girlfriend in the area of Emerson Street and Maple Avenue.

An emergency notification about was sent out to staff and students at 2:40 p.m., according to the Daily Northwestern.

At 3:11 p.m., Evanston police tweeted they checked the area and found "no evidence of a victim, scene or gunman."

At the time, Evanston police urged people to stay out of the area of due to the investigation. The university urged people at Englehart Hall, a graduate student dorm, to stay behind locked doors.

Portions of the campus were reportedly put on lockdown.

The university issued an all-clear around 4:30 p.m.

The term, "swatting," describes when someone calls in a false report in the hopes of prompting a SWAT team to respond.

Police said the student who the caller reported had been shot was later located unharmed.

Police said the call came from an area southeast of Rockford, about 70 miles northwest of Evanston. The apartment that police responded to Wednesday had been vacant since around Thanksgiving.

Such "swatting" calls can be dangerous. In December, Wichita, Kansas, police officers who responded to such a hoax call fatally shot a man as he answered his door.

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