Umbrella mistaken for gun prompts lockdown at Washington hospital

By Daniel Uria  |  Jan. 17, 2018 at 7:40 PM
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Jan. 17 (UPI) -- A Washington state hospital went on lockdown Wednesday when staff mistook a man's sword-shaped umbrella for a rifle.

Evergreen Health hospital in Kirkland shared a lockdown notice on Twitter at about 9 a.m. warning patients, employees and others in the hospital to remain outside the facility.

"To help keep our community safe, we are asking that all visitors avoid the area and remain outside of the hospital," Evergreen Health said.

Evergreen Health representative Kay Taylor told KOMO News an employee noticed a visitor carrying a backpack containing a long, handheld item sticking out from the top.

Staff examined surveillance images of the man, which were shared on social media, but were unable to identify the object.

"We're not sure what it is; we can't distinguish it on the videotape, but we took the highest level of concern which is an immediate lockdown," Taylor said.

Kirkland police officer Cody Mann said officers searched the hospital room by room after receiving a call reporting a suspicious person possibly in possession of a rifle.

At around 10 a.m. the man saw the image of himself on social media and contacted Evergreen Health to inform the hospital the object was actually an umbrella shaped like a sword.

"Thank you to all who helped with locating a reported suspicious male with a rifle. After a group effort it was determined to be an umbrella," Kirkland police wrote on Twitter alongside a photo of the umbrella.

Once the umbrella was identified the hospital lifted the ban and resumed care as usual.

"We took all necessary steps to exercise absolute caution to keep our patients, visitors, staff and community safe and we greatly appreciate the support of everyone to help ensure our campus was safe," the hospital said.

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