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Shooting threat prompts evacuation, heavy police response at University of Victoria

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For the second time this week, a threat of a shooting found written in a women's bathroom has forced the evacuation of a Victoria-area school.

Saanich and Oak Bay police descended on the University of Victoria campus Friday morning after a message was found written in a women's bathroom in the school's Cornett Building.

"We currently have a significant presence of officers at the University of Victoria," the Saanich Police Department said on social media shortly after 10:30 a.m.

"We are taking precautions to ensure that the area is safe. We will provide updates as they become available."

The Cornett Building was evacuated, and students and staff were advised to avoid the area. Police deemed the building safe around 11:30 a.m. while investigators remained on scene.

Images posted to social media showed multiple police vehicles and officers carrying rifles on campus Friday.

"The Cornett Building has now been cleared for re-entry and classes and activities within that building will resume," Denise Helm, the university's director of communications, told CTV News in a statement confirming the threat was found in the washroom.

"The message indicated the threat of a shooting, similar to other threats that had been posted in the community this week," she added.

The threat comes two days after a message found at a high school in Oak Bay, B.C., closed the school and triggered a police investigation.

Students and staff at Oak Bay High School were sent home Wednesday after a message written in the girls' bathroom threatened a shooting at the school later that day.

"While the message is similar to one found at a local high school a few days ago, we are unable to confirm at this time if the suspect(s) is the same," Saanich police said.

"We're working in partnership with the Oak Bay police to determine if there is a nexus between them," Saanich police Detective-Sgt. Damian Kowalewich told CTV News. "Because of those factors, we won't be releasing the exact verbiage that was written today."

The university remained open throughout the ordeal. 

The Cornett Building houses the departments of anthropology, psychology, sociology, and the office of interdisciplinary programs.

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