Sound of popping balloons mistaken for gunfire at USF

Students at the University of South Florida dealt with some very scary moments on campus today.  Reports of gunfire inside one of the classrooms sent Cooper Hall into a frenzy.

But it turns out those supposed gunshots were actually balloons.

Students placed 911 calls, fearing a gunman may have been on campus.  Authorities treated it that way - until they learned otherwise.

In fact, at least 40 officers from USF, TPD, Hillsborough County and the Florida Highway Patrol showed up.

But they wouldn't find a crazed gunman - only popped balloons.

"A professor was putting on some sort of team building exercise that involved popping balloons," said Interim USF Police Chief Christopher Daniel.

Looking back, now that things have calmed down - the chief says he's proud of the officers response time - less than 2 minutes - and the reaction by other students, who were quick to call 911 and keep themselves safe.  

"I would hope that given the sensitivity of all the shootings across the nation and the way people's concerns are heightened, if you're going to engage in an activity like that, let someone know that's going to happen," the chief said.