UPDATE: Police believe gun was a pellet rifle

HANOVER, VA (WWBT) - UPDATE: The Hanover County Sheriff's Office believe that, based upon witness interviews and evidence collected at the scene, the person that was spotted at the Atlee Recreation Center earlier Wednesday was firing a CO2 powered pellet rifle at plastic bottles hanging from trees.

The Sheriff's Office would like to encourage the individual who was in this area to contact the Sheriff's Office immediately at 365-6110 in an effort to resolve this matter and put the community's concerns to rest.

STORY: Three Hanover County schools were put on lockdown Wednesday. The lockdown came after sheriff's deputies were told there was a gunman near campus. The lockdown involved Atlee High School, Chickahominy Middle School, and Cool Spring Elementary School...all of which are located near Atlee Station Road.

It was 12:34: lunchtime and Hanover County Sheriff's Deputies sprung into action. They had just received a tip. They were told a man was at the Rec center, pointing a gun at Chickahominy Middle School, and Atlee High School.

Something needed to be done. So the schools were put on lockdown. They were searched from front to back. No gunman was ever seen. The tip appeared to be unfounded...as were some of the most basic elements of what authorities were first told.

The sheriff's office pointed out that even if you walked to the very edge of the Rec center property, you could see Chickahominy Middle School in the background, but there is no line of sight to Atlee High School.

The lockdowns were lifted about an hour after they first started. Students were dismissed normally.

Still, the ordeal brings to mind the worst case scenario.

"This is what we rehearse for since Columbine," said a sheriff's department spokesperson. "Everything seemed to work the way it was supposed to work."

A sweep of the schools and the nearby properties revealed nothing new. But sheriff's deputies remained on scene, and at other county schools to keep their visibility high.

Parents were notified through the school's community outreach system, which involves phone calls and e-mails. They picked up their kids at the usual time, and the buses left on schedule.

The Hanover County Sheriff's Office intends on keeping its visibility high through at least the end of the day. That involves visiting all of the county schools to interview any potential witnesses.

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