Local High School Locked Down After Shots Fired Nearby

Knoxville (WVLT) - Students at Austin-East High School spent 45 minutes in lockdown this morning after shots were fired in a neighborhood close to the school.

Callers to 911 said that they thought they heard gunshots along Linden Avenue, which is one block north of the school.

Knox County school officials say you should make no mistake about it, Wednesday's quick action was nothing new they've come up with since the tragedy at Virginia Tech.

They say it's their everyday plan and parents and residents agree with the lockdown.

One person called police indicating that there were two potential suspects running toward Austin-East High School.

"Because of that information, the school made the decision to go on lockdown which we completely agree with. They've got to protect the kids," said Darrell DeBusk, Knoxville Police Department Public Information Officer.

Knoxville Police also did a run through.

"We had an officer with a canine go to the school just to do a quick run-through the school to see if there was anyone or anything in the school," DeBusk said.

Those who work and live in the neighborhood agree with the safety measures taken.

"I think that was the proper thing to do to lockdown the school, safety of the kids should always come first," parent Tamaira McMillan said.

"I would think they should err on the side of caution," said Knoxville resident Robert Truesdale.

"I think they handled it very well, very well. That seems to be a very safe school," said Kathy Watson, who owns a business next to the school.

Austin-East Principal Brian Hartsell wants to emphasize that. "It's not affiliated with the school whatsoever. It was a community event and Austin-East and all the kids in the building were very safe at all times."

Principal Hartsell says it was a good training opportunity in a controlled "real life" situation.

Knoxville police continue looking into this, but they have no suspect or victim.

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