A heavy law enforcement presence was visible at St. Catherine Hospital Wednesday night after Garden City police received a call of a reported active shooter at the facility, though after investigating, police say the report was unfounded.
Garden City police Capt. Randy Ralston said police received a report at about 7:30 p.m. of an active shooter at St. Catherine, 401 E. Spruce St., which prompted the hospital to go on lockdown.
“Officers responded to the scene, and there was no evidence of an active shooter, and no shooter was located,” Ralston said during a press briefing Wednesday night at the hospital. “Officers began checking the building, and like I said, nothing was located… We’re investigating the nature of the call at this time.”
The GCPD, Finney County Sheriff’s Office, as well as the Kansas Highway Patrol responded to the scene.
Ralston said law enforcement performed a protective sweep of the hospital.
Shawna Deal, public relations coordinator for the hospital, said the hospital was on lockdown as a security precaution and that there were no injuries.
The Garden City Recreation Commission, which is about two blocks away from the south end of the St. Catherine campus, also had a temporary lockdown during the situation, according to a post on the GCRC’s Facebook page. Ralston said he was unaware of the GCRC’s lockdown.
Garden City Community College’s Campus Police Department sent out a text message to GCCC students Wednesday night that said the agency was advised of a “third party report” of an active shooter at SCH.
The texted messaged advised students to stay in their rooms until the college sent an all clear message and that all campus buildings were closed for the night.
A large group of people could be seen leaving the hospital during the lockdown, but Deal said those were hospital staff members whose shifts were over and had to wait to get the all clear from law enforcement in order to leave.
Ralston said he understands that some residents living near the hospital may be concerned for their safety, but noted the GCPD is doing everything it can to ensure the community is safe and is following its safety procedures.
Despite the report of a shooter being unfounded, Ralston said the GCPD takes each call it receives seriously.
“Obviously, we’re going to take precaution and we're going to treat every call as if it's real until we can prove otherwise,” he said.
Deal said the hospital planned to keep all doors locked, except for the north entrance, for the remainder of Wednesday night.
Ralston said additional information would be released Thursday morning, as the investigation continues.