Laurel Elementary School was placed on lockdown Tuesday after receiving a report of a threat, the sheriff's department said.
The elementary school on 1410 Laurel Street in Oceanside was placed on lockdown after authorities said they received a report that a person with a gun near the campus, according to the San Diego County Sheriff's Department.
According to Oceanside Unified School District spokesperson Steve Lombard, three female students alerted the school to the threat. At least one of the students was a third-grader at the school.
The girls said they were walking near the campus at about noon when a disheveled-looking man approached them and told them to "run." The girls ran away and reported the incident.
One of the students told authorities that she thought the man was carrying a rifle, however, the other two didn't recall seeing a weapon.
Officers on the scene say they don't believe the suspect was actually carrying a rifle, Lombard said. They called off the search shortly after the lockdown was lifted.
Officers began clearing the classrooms in the school at about 1:30 p.m. They said some of the students were taken into bathrooms by teachers. Parents were called to the campus to pick up their children.
Tuesday's threat was the second in less than a month. On December 21, Alex Paul Rodriquez, 61, was arrested after officials said he left a threatening message for staff at Laurel Elementary School.
The message was left one day prior and said there would be a shooting at the school later that morning according to police. Officers claim the phone ended with "maniacal laughter."
As a result, the school was placed on lockdown and increased police presence was on the school campus.
Parents arrived to the campus again Tuesday, concerned at the amount of threats the school has been receiving in such a short amount of time, and so close to the massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown.
One frightened parent told NBC 7 she did not want to send her daughter back to school. Many other parents said they were just anxious to get their children home.
Recent incidents like this one and several other threats reported on in the aftermath of the Newtown tragedy have shed a light on school security and the question of whether more officers should be on campus.
In a previous article examining the possibility of more officers at San Diego County schools, a district official said that Oceanside Unified School District oversees 23 schools and has four officers. Additionally the school employs 34 Campus Security Assistants, but they aren’t armed.
The map below shows where the school is located.
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