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Device to scare birds causes Guard base lockdown

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JACKSON, Miss. (AP) - Authorities say a device used to scare birds away from an airport caused the lockdown of a Mississippi Air National Guard base when the noise was mistaken for gunfire.

Adding to the confusion Wednesday, the 172nd Airlift Wing had been preparing for a drill this week that would have simulated a gunman on the base in Flowood.

The unit is near the Jackson-Medgar Wiley Evers International Airport and uses its runways.

Airport CEO Dirk Vanderleest says the device is similar to starter pistol and fires something like a bottle rocket. He says a buzzard was flying near the runway as a plane approached.

Guard spokesman Tim Powell says the noise was mistaken for gunshots, which prompted the lockdown and sent law enforcement and first responders rushing to the scene.

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