Reuters International

By Robert MacMillan

TORONTO (Reuters) - Police were searching for a masked man dressed in black on the downtown campus of the University of Toronto, police in Canada's largest city said on Monday, following reports that triggered a lockdown in several buildings in the area.

Toronto Police Chief Mark Saunders told reporters at the school that police received several reports of a suspicious man in a school building, but have not yet found anyone.

The school has been locked down for several hours while police conduct their search. Hospitals in the area as well as the provincial legislature had also gone into lockdown as a precaution, the police said on Twitter.

Tensions are high across North America after a gunman massacred 49 people at a gay nightclub in Florida on Sunday.

Toronto's police chief said various reports described a man in black, wearing something that looked like a surgical mask, and carrying a black backpack. While at least one person said they'd seen a man with a gun, Saunders said a photo taken of the man did not show a weapon.

"It's very early right now ... It's going to take a little more time to get everything so that we can have as best a picture as possible to determine what this is all about," Saunders told reporters.

"We're asking if anyone saw anything, if anyone has any information, if they can contact us."

Police were still sweeping the university's buildings, and one man was being questioned nearby on an unrelated matter, Saunders said.

The University of Toronto is located in the centre of the city, close to the provincial legislature and a main boulevard populated by large hospitals and office and government buildings. Toronto and its outskirts are home to about 6 million people.

Regular classes at the school have ended for the school year, but convocation ceremonies have been taking place and the area is crisscrossed by city streets.

(With additional reporting by Andrea Hopkins; Editing by Alan Crosby)


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