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Missoula and University of Montana police officers carrying rifles spread across a UM student housing development Thursday afternoon because of what eventually was termed a false report.

Two blocks of Maurice Avenue in front of the Elliot Village at the base of Mount Sentinel were blocked off by patrol cars shortly before 4 p.m.

Capt. Ben Gladwin with the UM Police Department said the initial report was that a man was barricaded in an apartment with a gun and that children were also in the unit with him.

Because of the potential safety threat, Gladwin said officers responded in large numbers and took all precautions necessary.

Officers made contact with the people in the unit and determined that the initial report wasn't true. Police began to clear the scene shortly after 4 p.m. and the road in front of the complex was reopened.

"The situation is currently under investigation for a false report," Gladwin said.

Residents in nearby buildings said they didn't know what to do when they saw the armed officers around their apartments, but heard officers calling for the people inside one of the units to come out.

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Law and Justice Reporter

Crime reporter for the Missoulian.