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KAFB: lockdown triggered by popping bubble wrap

The Truman Gate at Kirtland Air Force Base was opened after a temporary lockdown at the base Wednesday. (Jim Thompson/Journal)

The Truman Gate at Kirtland Air Force Base was opened after a temporary lockdown at the base Wednesday. (Jim Thompson/Journal)

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — The reported gunshots that triggered a lockdown at Kirtland Air Force Base Wednesday afternoon turned out to be someone popping bubble wrap, said Eric Elliott, the director of public affairs for the base.

“One individual had some heavy-duty bubble wrap from a package and was stepping on it to pop it,” he said. “Someone else heard the popping and —due to (the mass shooting) happening in San Bernardino — called 911.”

The base and three nearby elementary schools were locked down for about 45 minutes while security forces investigated.

On Thursday, the popper confessed to sparking the scare with the “sandwich bag-size air pockets,” Elliott said.

“The person who popped the bubble wrap came forward to security forces and said, ‘Hey I think that was me. It was louder than I expected,'” he said.

Elliott said he was glad the person who called 911 did so because it’s important to take every precaution. Both the popper and the caller were civilian employees on the base.

“We got a good exercise out of it,” Elliott said. “We were able to run through the scenario and get some good practice.”

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