OAKLAND -- A report of what turned out to be a paintball gun on campus forced a lockdown at Claremont Middle School for nearly two hours Tuesday morning.

Just before 8:30 a.m., BART police received an anonymous tip from someone who noticed a group of three students walking toward the school as one of them placed what appeared to be an assault weapon into a green backpack, according to a letter to parents from Oakland Unified School District spokesman Troy Flint.

The school was immediately placed on lockdown and police did a walk-through of the school, located at 5750 College Ave. in the Rockridge district, but found nothing, police spokesman Frank Bonifacio said.

The lockdown ended about 10:15 a.m., and police continued to search the school area and interview students. Eventually the investigation led officers to an area near a portable structure where an unloaded paintball gun was buried. The imitation gun was a model used for paintball, and it was empty, but it could have been mistaken for a real gun, Flint said.

During the lockdown, students remained in their classrooms, school officials said. Officers cleared the scene about 10:15 a.m.

"Police believe they discovered who brought the paintball gun to school," Flint said on Tuesday afternoon. "They spoke to the students involved and are collecting the details."


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Contact Natalie Neysa Alund at 510-293-2469 or at Twitter.com/nataliealund.