A coach and high school athletes were alarmed Tuesday afternoon when they saw a gunman near the football field, Iowa officials said.
Staff members immediately put Hartley-Melvin-Sanborn High School in Hartley, Iowa, on lockdown, fearing the worst, according to KTIV.
Police officers rushed to the scene within minutes, the N’West Iowa Review reported.
Shortly after they arrived, officials realized it wasn’t what it seemed.
It turns out a cow escaped a nearby meat locker — and an employee was chasing after it with a gun, KIWA radio reported. The black Angus cow had gotten loose while it was being taken off a trailer, N’West Iowa Review reported.
The school was only locked down for about 15 minutes, KTIV reported.
Superintendent Patrick Carlin said the incident isn’t the way he would’ve preferred to practice a school lockdown but admitted it gave students and employees an opportunity for more experience, according to KIWA.
“You never want anyone to go through the trauma of those situations — even in this case — it’s always a certain amount of emotional response that goes along with that situation and the unknown,” Carlin told N’West Iowa Review.
As for the cow, it was killed and taken back to the meat locker to be butchered, N’West Iowa Review reported.