Armed law enforcement officers descended on the old Regions building Wednesday evening in downtown Gainesville in response to what turned out to be a false alarm, a Gainesville police department spokesman said.
While the scene looked alarming, it was soon confirmed by Gainesville police as a false alarm, a department spokesman said.
Cpl. Kevin Holbrook, spokesman for the police, said a female caller notified dispatch that she was in the building and under threat.
It was later determined by police that she was not in the building, and possibly not in the general area at all.
Holbrook could not release many other details, as the investigation is ongoing, but said she “may have suffered from mental problems.”
Holbrook said the heavy police presence and coordination with Hall County Sheriff’s Office and Georgia State Patrol was protocol for an unknown threat.
The caller said she was in the building with other people, and that there was a female threatening her.
“The caller indicated that she was in need of immediate police assistance,” Holbrook said. “Dispatchers were unable to get further information.”
Unable to determine the level of threat, the protocol was an aggressive response.
“We followed protocol for this type of call due to lack of information from the caller,” he said.
The size of building also prompted the manpower, he said.
False alarms, given the mobilization of resources, are not taken lightly.
“The investigation is ongoing. These types of calls are taken very seriously due to fact that many jurisdictions were involved in the response,” Holbrook said.
The caller could face charges for making the false report.
Holbrook noted that at the very least, it was an opportunity for law enforcement agency co-ordination and threat response practice.
“It’s a sort of training exercise,” he said.
Gainesville is the lead agency in the investigation of the caller.