VENICE - It only took a few minutes for Venice police and Sheriff's deputies to sort out a scare Wednesday that resulted in the lock down of two local schools.
Police reported a call Wednesday around 2:15 p.m. by a citizen who saw what looked like an individual walking on the street outside Venice Elementary School with what appeared to be a rifle.
Both Venice Elementary and Venice High next door were locked down as law enforcement responded.
What they found was a young man eating lunch at a picnic table on the island side of the Venice Avenue bridge on the Intracoastal … with an umbrella.
"We appreciate the citizens concern ad willingness to report what they believed was suspicious," said VPD in a Facebook post a few minutes later. "However, we have determined there was never a threat and the citizen mistook the umbrella for a firearm."
The school lockdown was lifted around 2:30 p.m.
Venice Police appreciated people contacting authorities - even though - in this case - there was no threat.
"As always we want to encourage anyone that if they see something, say something," said VPD's Capt. Eric Hill. "Better to call and be nothing, than not call and be something."