No evidence found after report of shooter at Memorial High School
EVANSVILLE, Ind. (WFIE) - Several Evansville Police cars and emergency vehicles were at Reitz Memorial High School Wednesday morning.
The worst fear for students, parents and teachers. Calls for an active shooter inside the school.
Evansville Police say someone with a non-local number and a foreign accent called dispatch to say there was an active shooter and 10 people were hurt.
Officers say the caller also gave a room number in the school where the shooter was, but say that room doesn’t exist in the school.
After entering the building, police quickly determined it was a false claim for an active shooter.
Police are calling the incident “swatting.” That’s when someone calls in a fake run to a school to cause panic. They say the same thing happened at several other schools around the Midwest, including in Lexington, Louisville and Cincinnati. In each case, an active shooter call was made, but no students were in danger.
Although police quickly determined the threats were false, the fear was real.
“My heart was racing, my heart was racing, my heart was racing,” said Wilmensha Taylor, who’s son is a student at Memorial.
Taylor says she was out getting breakfast when she got the news from her son, they were on lockdown. She rushed over to the school, and says it was 10 minutes before she and her mother Glamor Tayor learned the threat wasn’t real.
“The world is so crazy nowadays my mind was everywhere,” Wilmensha said.
“Those are our babies, our kids, our future,” Glamor said.
Police say they respond to every active shooter threat like it’s real.
“Its just what we train to do, how we respond with every unit we’ve got is coming to this to try and make the scene safe and save lives,” said Evansville Police Captain Brent Hoover.
Inside the school, students say the principal came over the intercom to call for a lockdown. It was almost instantly, one student says, that officers arrived.
“We saw one police walk past and we was like, ‘oh,’” said De’Marviyon Vaughn, a senior at Memorial. “We saw the next one with the big old gun and we was like, ‘Oh oh oh.’ We all get up, looked out the windows and they were just all pulling in and all that and everybody’s like, ‘Oh oh my gosh oh my gosh.’ It’s just crazy.”
Anxious moments for parents all across the Midwest Wednesday morning, but in the end, everyone is thankful to be going home safe.
“The response of all the officers here, city and county and state, that’s a wonderful feeling,” said Glamor.
“All I can say is my mom, my grandma they really care for me, they love me,” said Vaughn. “Anything can happen right now so I’m just ready to go home, go home with them.”
School resumed at Memorial shortly after 9 a.m.
Evansville police say investigators are working to learn if the threats across the region are related.
The Diocese of Evansville Catholic Schools Office and Reitz Memorial High School released a statement on the situation saying:
“The safety of students, faculty and staff at the Diocese of Evansville’s 26 Catholic schools is of paramount importance. This morning, Nov. 8, law enforcement was notified of a potential threat at Reitz Memorial High School. The school immediately transitioned to a lockdown, and all students, faculty and staff are safe. Law enforcement officials conducted a thorough search of the building and school property, and found nothing to substantiate the threat. The school has received an all clear. Reitz Memorial and the Diocesan Catholic Schools Office are grateful for the immediate response by local law enforcement in ensuring that students, faculty and staff at the school today were in no danger.”
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