Police respond to report of gun at Russian Jack Elementary and find Nerf gun

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ANCHORAGE (KTUU) - APD says that a mother's call into APD about a rifle-carrying man near Russian Jack Elementary turned out to be a false alarm.

According to APD, a mother arrived at the school to pick up her children who were playing on the playground. She saw a man in all camouflage bike up to the playground, dismount, and stare at the woman and her children.

She got her kids into the car and watched the man walk over to the woods, take out what she thought was a scoped rifle from his backpack, lay it on the ground, and point it at herself and her children.

The woman drove away and called the school's principal at 4:28 p.m. An APD swing officer was with the principal when the call came in, and got eyes on the suspect from the office window. The suspect was on the playground removing his jacket, but no weapon was in sight. The officer called for backup.

A lockdown was called by the school as the officer awaited backup, but meanwhile, the officer lost sight of the suspect. As the backup arrived, they saw the suspect on a bike riding away from the school. He was taken into custody at 4:36 p.m.

He told the officers that the gun in question was a Nerf gun, and after an extensive search of the perimeter of the school, the grounds and the wood line where the suspect had been scene, officers could only find a Nerf gun.

The suspect was named as 20-year-old Matthew R. Sandison. He was charged with Assault III, Reckless Endangerment, and Terroristic Threatening.

There were no students at the school at the time of the incident, but the officers escorted teachers to their cars.

The Anchorage School District put out a statement following the incident praising the staff and officers' response.

"We train and prepare as staff to a variety of emergency situations and in this case they reacted appropriately and quickly. We appreciate APD for their rapid response," it reads.

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