SHIVELY, KY (WAVE) – Wesley Alexander felt the frustrations of most every parent of a teenager attending Western High School on Friday morning. He was trying to ease a son's fears while not knowing few facts himself.
"I just need for you to stay calm and make sure you do what they say you do," Alexander said, as his son listened on a friend's cell phone. "Make sure you follow directions, understand me?!"
Western and neighboring Waller-Williams Environmental School had been on lockdown for more than an hour.
"We received a tip through 911 that there was going to be, or was currently going on, an active shooter within Western," Shively Police Sgt. Josh Myers said.
"On the announcements, they said they had a phone call from the teachers that there was an active shooter,"" freshman
Canella Taylor told WAVE 3 News.
"Our security team did receive such a call from a school telephone number," Jefferson County Public Schools spokeswoman Bonnie Hackbarth said. "We've not been able to determine from whom, or whether it was before, or after the 911 call."
Body language told sophomore Darreona Anthony this was no exercise.
"We never had a drill that the teachers didn't know about," Anthony said. "My teacher was scared."
Shively Police, Louisville Metro Police and Jefferson County deputies searched Western room-by-room, for more than an hour an a half.
"To make sure that any and all threats in that building are knocked down," Myers said.
The wait was too long for Tara Boyd's daughter.
"She is seven months pregnant," Boyd said. "She has epilepsy, they didn't want me to come up here because it was a madhouse."
An ambulance took one student to Kosair Children's Hospital, Hackbarth said, "but it wasn't related to the incident."
Boyd disputed that, saying her daughter already had gone to KCH before she arrived at Western.
"All students are safe," Myers said at a news conference shortly after 11 a.m. "There have been no shots fired, (and) no injuries as a result of any kind of a weapon discharge."
That gave parents a choice. They could go home and let their children finish out the school day, or they could take them home. Shawnice Ashley and dozens of mothers and fathers opted for the latter.
"My daughter has anxiety, and she was about to have an attack," she said. "This school needs metal detectors. Something."
Alexander was grateful.
"It's crazy, because I had taken away his phone when he couldn't follow directions," he said. "It was good to hear my son's voice, that he was okay."
Anthony's takeaway was more frustration than fear.
"Standing in a dark room for two hours," she said.
Social media and cell phones helped the rumor mill grind fine and long. Several parents showed up at Rockford Baptist Church after several media reported, erroneously, that students would be bused there.
"It's ridiculous" one mother said, as she fought tears. "Your kids can't go to school (and) get a good education without foolishness going on."
Police shared their fury.
"If we do find out that it was a malicious, false report, then we will be working to prosecute that individual to the fullest extent of the law," Myers said.