The phone call came as Solomon Haumono made his way to meet UFC heavyweight Travis Browne for training.
"Don't go there," trainer Justin Fortune shouted down the other line. "There's been a shooting."
Haumono and Browne were due to train at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) last month, but the entire campus was shut down as armed tactical police and anti-terror squads descended.
A student had shot his professor dead before turning the gun on himself, and panic spread across the famous university.
But the sadly common occurrence of shootings in the United States meant plans weren't disrupted for too long.
"We were there the next day, training as police were still doing forensic investigations behind the crime scene tape," Haumono said.
"It felt so eerie to me, but Justin has been living there for so long he wasn't even fazed.
"Hearing police sirens over there is as common as hearing aeroplanes pass by overhead in Sydney."
Haumono and Browne, boyfriend of women's star Ronda Rousey, were put through the gruelling stairs session at UCLA that Fortune also uses for his most famous client, Manny Pacquiao.
But it nearly didn't happen.
When Haumono touched down from his 14-hour flight from Sydney to Los Angeles to meet his new trainer Fortune, he was in for a rude shock.
"I'll be honest, I thought we've got a lot of work to do," Fortune said.
"He is a big boy but he struck me as too gentle, I just didn't think he'd have the aggression I needed to make this work."
But Haumono asked for one pad session in a bid to change Fortune's mind.
"He nearly ripped my shoulders off their sockets," Fortune said.
"I fought as a heavyweight, I've sparred a lot of heavyweights, and there aren't very many who I would describe as having scary power, but Sol's power is downright frightening.
"That's him; a silent assassin."
So Fortune took him on, and after a tough six-week camp he believes Haumono is set to shock the world by defeating unbeaten Kiwi sensation Joseph Parker in Christchurch on Thursday.
"I won't name names because I don't want to embarrass anyone, but Sol was able to outperform a lot of boxers that are in lighter divisions in the extreme cardio tests I set," Fortune said.
"I think he can cause a lot of devastation."
Haumono witnessed a different type of devastation walking around earthquake-hit Christchurch on Monday.
The city is still rebuilding from the massive 2011 quakes and the plight of the town touched Haumono.
"People have wished me well in the streets, seeing what they've gone through and what has happened to their city, it says a lot about their community," Haumono said.
Haumono vs. Parker: "Bledisloe of boxing"
World heavyweight title eliminator
Thursday, July 21, 5.30pm, Horncastle Arena, Christchurch
Solomon Haumono (24-2-2, 21KO), from Sydney, Australia.
Joseph Parker (19-0, 16KO), from Auckland, New Zealand.