This story was last updated at 5:44 pm.
A two-hour safety lockdown at Holy Names ended early Thursday afternoon after reports
that a man with a gun had been on campus. No such person was found, police said.
The Oakland Police Department responded at 10:30 Thursday morning to reports of
a man who a witness said had a waist holster with a gun in it. Some witnesses had a
conversation with the suspect and described him as “disheveled,” according to OPD
spokesperson Johnna Watson.
“When there is a report of anyone with a firearm, we take that very seriously,” Watson
said. “Safety is our number one priority.”
Founded in 1868, Holy Names is a co-ed university and has an enrollment of about 1400
students, both undergraduate and graduate. It is located in the hills of East Oakland in
the Woodminster neighborhood.
An OPD SWAT team searched buildings on campus and determined them secure before
the lockdown order was lifted on Thursday afternoon at 2:10, Watson said.
Sebastian Ugalde, an 18-year-old freshman at Holy Names University, said he was told
by police to leave his class and go to the campus gym, where he estimated that between
100 and 150 people were waiting. It was when Ugalde arrived at the gym, he said, that
officials told him there was a gunman on campus and gave him a description of the
“For me it was a shock,” Ugalde told a reporter as he left the campus. Individuals were
allowed to leave with a police escort.
Graduate student Charlla Killebrew said she was in the library at the time of the incident.
OPD came through, searched the area and then allowed individuals to leave. “This is a
very quiet school,” Killebrew said. “This is very out of the ordinary.”
Parents with children at the Raskob Learning Institute, an on-campus elementary
school for children with learning difficulties, received an email from the school,
informing them that a lockdown was in place, said Jim Strandberg, whose children
are in 7th grade at the institute.
He said he received another email when police gave the all clear.
“I was pretty surprised,” Strandberg said of the initial email. “But I have a lot of
confidence in the staff.”
It is standard practice for the school to lock down in situations like this, said Lesley
Sims, director of marketing and public relations for Holy Names University.
“You have to do whatever it takes to make sure the campus community is safe,” she
After police gave the all clear, a long line of cars wielded its way up Mountain
Boulevard. Students in small groups began to trickle out of the black gates, as
classes were cancelled for the rest of the day. By 3 p.m., only a few students carrying
backpacks were visible around campus.
Classes will resume on Friday, and it will be “business as usual,” Sims said.