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Police say a suspected firearm being carried by a man in Fredericton on Friday that caused schools to be locked down turned out to be an umbrella.

Police released a photo of the umbrella the man they were looking for was carrying and described it on the department's Facebook page as having a "significant resemblance to a weapon."

In the picture released by police, the umbrella is shaped like a Samurai sword.

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At least four schools including a high school and an elementary school were initially locked down as a precaution, but shortly before noon police lifted the lockdowns.

"We want to thank the public for their diligence this morning and thank you for your patience as we worked to investigate this complaint," the police department said in a statement.

"We take all complaints very seriously and our response was prompt and measured, and we want to reassure the public that we had all of our necessary resources deployed."

At a news conference, police Chief Leanne Fitch said a 25-year-old man contacted police shortly before noon after seeing photos they had released on social media.

"We had our officers in the area, they responded to that location and confirmed in fact that the subject of interest was just a gentleman walking to work," Fitch said.

"The gentleman had absolutely no intention whatsoever to cause any type of concern or fear in the community."

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