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Students and staff are sheltering in classrooms, according to principal’s update

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By Andrea Papagianis, Updated: 5/29/2014 at 4:20 p.m.

Students at Dana Hills High School were finally able to leave the school just after 3:30 p.m. after more than three hours on lockdown Thursday, following the discovery of a gun case at the school. No weapons were found and no arrests made.

Dana Hills High School’s students and staff sheltered in place after a suspicious item was found on campus late Thursday morning, officials confirmed.

According to an online update from Principal Jason Allemann, all students and staff are currently safe and secure. The school’s phone lines are currently overwhelmed, Allemann wrote. Officials said parents can obtain updates at 714.628.7085.

Orange County Sheriff’s Department deputies were on campus for an unrelated incident around 11:30 a.m., department spokesman Lt. Jeff Hallock said. While these, School staff informed deputies that an empty rifle case was found in the school’s parking lot. Upon inspection, officials placed the school on lockdown around 12:15 p.m. to perform a systematic campus-wide search, he said.

“Based on the fact there was a case found, we want to be sure there is no weapon on campus,” Hallock said. Sheriff’s officials are monitoring the situation from helicopters. SWAT and Critical Incident Response Team members have been called in to assist in the search, Hallock said.

“We want to conduct the search in a timely matter to get the kids back to their studies and on their way,” Hallock said.

Orange County Fire Authority personnel are assisting the sheriff’s department, according to spokesman Capt. Steve Concialdi, who said no injuries have been reported and the situation is safe.

“All students are safe and no other incidents have been flagged,” said Stephen Nichols, chief communications officer, Capistrano Unified School District. “They just have to do their due diligence.”

Parents had gathered at the school Thursday afternoon, anxiously awaiting their students’ release.

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