All university operations resumed about three hours after Norman police responded to reports of an alleged shooting on campus.
After a SWAT Team conducted two searches of Gould Hall, where the gunshots were allegedly heard, the building has been cleared with no evidence of a shooter found.
“At this point it appears to have been a false alarm,” OU President David Boren said in a press conference at 1 p.m.
The gunshot sound could have been backfire from machinery on campus, Boren said.
With construction on the South Oval in front of Gould Hall Boren said the gunshot sound “could have been a piece of equipment,” but the faculty member who reported the possible shooting “did the right thing.”
“We can never take these kinds of reports lightly,” he said.
The Norman Police Department received reports of the alleged gunshots at 11:17 a.m. and responded within three minutes, said Norman Police Capt. Tom Easley.
About 15 go 20 police cars arrived at campus, parking along Asp Ave. and Lindsey Street. Police officers and SWAT members ran across the South Oval carrying assault rifles.
University College freshman Brianna Cantu said she saw motorcycles driving up the South Oval as police told students to clear the area.
"We saw police get off their motorcycles, and one pulled out a gun," Cantu said. "It wasn't even a regular gun it was like a freaking rifle."
Texts and emails were sent to students and faculty from OU's Alert System around 11:20 a.m. saying “shooting on campus. Avoid (Gould Hall). Seek immediate shelter in place."
Students were evacuated from Dale Hall and students in buildings next to Gould Hall crowded into classrooms, locking the doors.
Gaylord professor Julie Jones said police directed Gaylord students and professors to the building’s Ethics and Excellence in Journalism Foundation auditorium when the news broke.
University College freshman Abby Reitz said she was in Gould Hall when the alleged gunshots were reported, but she did not hear the alleged shots.
“They [police] evacuated me with guns and told me to put my hands up,” Reitz said.
Reitz said the SWAT team entered the building and told everyone to put their hands up and evacuate the building.
"I guess they went in and said they were looking for someone with a gun," Reitz said. "That’s all I know. I did not hear anything.”
University College freshman Amanda Boccio said she was alone in a studio in Gould Hall when she heard sirens.
"I heard like running," she said. "I didn't know if it was a cop or something. I just got out of there."
Boccio relocated to the Oklahoma Memorial Union and said she was still shaking from the incident.
Boren was seen at Gould Hall around noon, and he went into Gaylord Hall to tell students crowded in the auditorium that they were safe to leave but they should avoid the area around Gould.