BATON ROUGE, La. — A day after a reported armed intruder on Louisiana State University's campus turned out to be a false alarm, university leaders said they were thankful for the person who made the initial report.

"I want to reiterate that this is precisely how we hope that our students, faculty, and staff react in these moments," university president F. King Alexander said in a statement Wednesday.

The LSU Police Department first notified students that an "armed intruder" had been reported in Coates Hall around 3 p.m. through text messages and social media, telling them to "Run, Hide or Fight." Those are the actions recommended by the U.S. Government in an active shooter situation.

Alexander confirmed previous statements by the university that the alert was sent after someone reported seeing a plainclothes police officer with a gun visible on his belt.

Dear Students, Faculty and Staff, Yesterday, our entire campus community experienced a frightening situation after someone reported seeing an armed individual enter Coates Hall. Luckily, through fast action and the dedication of the LSU Police Department, we were able to secure the location and determine that the sighting was actually a plainclothes officer.

Police had cordoned off an area around the building with tape and several officers were present, but life on the campus appeared to go on without disruption. Students mingled at the student union across the street, and traffic flowed normally. A shelter-in-place order was lifted hours after the first alert had been sent.

"We are very fortunate that yesterday's situation was a false alarm. All too often around the country and the world, such events have tragic endings," Alexander said. "Unfortunately, an active shooter on campus is a situation that universities must now be prepared for at all times."

Alexander added that it is important to err on the side of caution and first responders would rather have a false alarm than not be aware of a potential issue. He also urged students to watch basic safety videos and sign up for emergency text message alerts.

"By taking a few minutes to do this now, you will be better prepared, just in case," Alexander said.

Classes are not in session at the state's flagship university, but many students have been moving back to the school after the summer break.

Coates Hall houses academic departments and several student support services, according to the LSU website.


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The Associated Press contributed to this report.