Active shooter reports at California schools spur investigations

Police were investigating a number of reports of active shooters or threats against several California schools on Wednesday, but the calls were quickly ruled hoaxes and the students are safe, authorities said.

Law enforcement sources told the Times that while the investigation was ongoing, the FBI had gathered information that showed a possible connection between a dozen false reports at schools across California and Texas over the past few days.

In California on Wednesday there were reports of shootings, lockdowns or evacuations at Lancaster High School in Antelope Valley, Mater Dei Catholic High School in Chula Vista, Gibson Elementary and Bullard High School in Fresno and Santa Rosa High School.

The hoaxes were all similar: a single person called 911 and reported an active shooter and, in some cases, injured people. The calls prompted lockdowns and evacuations, spreading fear among students, parents and teachers before police could search the campus.

“My kid and his classmates huddled at their teacher’s feet for 40 minutes today,” one person commented on Twitter. “This is frightening and not okay.”

Police arrived on a quiet campus and there were no signs of a threat.

Dozens of police officers and deputies flocked to the scene at Bishop Garcia Diego High School in Santa Barbara around 1 p.m. They found no signs of an emergency, such as students fleeing or additional 911 calls, said Ethan Ragsdale, a spokesman for the Santa Barbara Police Station.

Officers searched the campus inside and out and found the school safe within half an hour, he said.

Around the same time, the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department received a call about a threat at Lancaster High School. The school went into lockdown before officials confirmed there was no evidence of a shooting.

The Fresno Police Department received a similar call just before noon. Police arrived at Gibson Elementary and Bullard High within minutes, said Bill Dooley, a police spokesman.

“You met Madera [Calif.] yesterday and they met us today,” Dooley said. “The investigation is ongoing and we are working with local, state and federal agencies to see if we can determine who the person is.”

Dooley added that other reports have been made across the country, including Florida and Texas.

Similar threats were reported by Mater Dei High School and Santa Rosa High School in Chula Vista. These, too, were quickly confirmed as fakes, officials said.

The fake calls appear to have started before Wednesday.

They followed a similar hoax at Hollywood High School Tuesday morning when someone reported one active shooter and six victims. The school went into lockdown, causing fear among some students who ran and hid, fearing the worst.

Officers entered the campus, guns drawn, searching for victims or suspects.

But school staff, instead of alerting police to an emergency, gave officers confused looks.

“They just looked at us like ‘What’s up?'” said Lt. Nina Buranasombati, a spokeswoman for the school police. Active shooter reports at California schools spur investigations

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