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Rhode Island police find no evidence of gunman on college campus

BOSTON (Reuters) - Rhode Island police said on Thursday they had found "no evidence" of a gunman at a university campus that was locked down after students reported an armed man in a lecture hall.

The University of Rhode Island lifted an order issued earlier locking down its Kingston campus after the lecture hall was evacuated because of the reports.

The incident began when a professor heard a man outside a classroom describing himself as "a good guy" with a gun, said Captain James Manni of the Rhode Island State Police. The professor immediately had his students take cover and later evacuate their classroom.

"No evidence was found that an active firearm or active shooter was there," Manni said. Police had learned students at the school were participating in an unofficial "zombie week," he added.

"It was possibly some type of game that was being played," Manni said, adding that a toy gun had recovered.

As a precautionary measure, the university canceled all classes at the Kingston campus, about 30 miles south of Providence in the southern portion of the smallest U.S. state.

Educators and police remain on alert for possible shooting incidents after a lone gunman attacked an elementary school in Connecticut in December, killing 20 young children and six adults.

(Reporting by Scott Malone; Editing by Paul Thomasch and Christopher Wilson)

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