Man with pistol spotted at Burnside High

CALLOUT: Police leave Burnside High School early this afternoon after a gunman was reported on the grounds this morning.
DAVID HALLETT/Fairfax NZ
CALLOUT: Police leave Burnside High School early this afternoon after a gunman was reported on the grounds this morning.

Armed police searching for a gunman around Christchurch's Burnside High School have been stood down.

A police spokesman said a male described as Maori, aged 16 to 18, wearing a black coat and dark jeans, was seen by pupils walking through the grounds about 11am carrying what appeared to be a silver pistol.

The weapon was not pointed at anyone, no threats were made and the teenager was seen to leave the school grounds towards Memorial Ave, he said.

SCARY STUFF: Burnside High pupil Lewis Kerr, 15, said hearing about an alleged gunman being on school grounds was scary.
DAVID HALLETT/Fairfax NZ
SCARY STUFF: Burnside High pupil Lewis Kerr, 15, said hearing about an alleged gunman being on school grounds was scary.

Pupils posted on Facebook that the large secondary school was in lockdown.

Press journalist Jane Dunbar, whose 13-year-old daughter attends the school, said the school had been given the all-clear shortly after noon.

"My daughter texted me saying they were in lockdown because someone dodgy was on the school grounds," Dunbar said.

Police said they believed the offender was no longer in the vicinity of the school and asked people who saw him to contact them.

The spokesman said the police sweep had been stood down, but a small number of officers would remain in standby in case of further sightings.

The school was returning to normal operation, he said.

PUPIL: 'IT WAS SCARY '

Lewis Kerr, 15, said he was in an English class when principal Warwick Maguire came over the speaker system telling pupils to stay in their classrooms.

"He said there was a person who could be a threat to us in the school grounds."

Teachers locked classroom doors and pupils were told to stay away from the windows.

The year 11 pupil said they saw about six police officers walking through the school.

Lewis said it was scary.

He texted his family to let them know what was happening, but about half an hour later pupils were able to leave the classrooms.

The Press