Rumors of gunman in Oak Harbor unfounded

There was no shooting in Oak Harbor earlier this week, despite rumors to the contrary that were spread around social media.

Oak Harbor Police Chief Kevin Dresker said the incident was largely a case of mistaken identify and a miscommunication.

Nobody was injured or arrested.

Dresker explained that an employee at a medical center near Home Depot called 911 to report that a man who had recently been “trespassed” from the business had forced his way into the building and was carrying a white bag.

A business can ask police to “trespass” someone bothersome, which means the person is told not to return.

Police officers quickly responded and treated the incident seriously. Employees from inside the building were already evacuating when police arrived. Officers formed a team and went inside.

The officers soon discovered that the man had been misidentified; he was not the man who was barred from going into the business.

It also turned out that the man had not pushed his way into the building, but had just walked in to use the bathroom, Dresker said.

The man was not armed.

The man was someone who has had several interactions with police over property crimes, the chief said.

Dresker said the rumor of an active shooter spread quickly. He received a call from Schools Superintendent Lance Gibbon, who asked about the incident.

Dresker said the schools weren’t notified because there was no reason to believe the potential suspect posed any danger beyond the business, but he told Gibbon it was up to school officials whether or not they wanted to respond.

The district did a temporary lockout of Oak Harbor Intermediate School. Students who arrived early were ushered into the gymnasium.

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