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The Journal Gazette

Wednesday, July 23, 2014 1:42 pm

Lockdown lifted at Little Rock Air Force Base

JACKSONVILLE, Ark. (AP) Military officials have lifted the lockdown at Little Rock Air Force Base that was prompted by reports of a suspicious person, but no details about what sparked the hours-long shutdown Wednesday have been released.

An "all clear" announcement was sent across the base's public-address system just after 4 p.m., about five hours after the lockdown began. People who live on base were urged to stay indoors, and visitors were asked to not come to the front gate.

Base spokeswoman Lt. Mallory Thornton said earlier in the day that the base was taking the steps "in the interest of protecting all base members," but she declined to provide details about what prompted the lockdown.

Gates allowing access to the base were closed and a line of vehicles stretched for a quarter-mile outside of the base, which is located about 15 miles northeast of Little Rock.

Christina Rivera, whose husband is an airman on base, said she'd received an automated phone call telling everyone on base to stay indoors. Rivera, who had been waiting outside the gate entrance for several hours, said her husband was barricaded in their bedroom with their two young children, who are 8 months old and 18 months old.

"All I want is to go home and be with my husband and my kids," she said, more than two hours after the lockdown began.

Emergency crews were on the scene, and sirens could be heard over loudspeakers outside the base's entrance during the shutdown. The base had been conducting emergency response exercises, but officials said Wednesday's incident was not part of the drill.

Airman Regina Agoha, a base spokeswoman, confirmed that the base had reopened by late Wednesday afternoon, but she said she had no other information.

The base specializes in the C-130 cargo airplane and is home to the 19th Airlift Wing, the 314th Airlift Wing and the 29th Weapons Squadron. The Arkansas Air National Guard's 189th Airlift Wing is also located on base.