OHIO (WJW) — At least five Northeast Ohio schools received threats Friday in what’s believed to be part of a statewide active shooter hoax.
Akron City Schools confirmed Garfield Community Learning Center received one of those threats at just after 11:30 a.m. Friday.
The man who called the Akron Police Department claimed there was a mass shooting at the school.
“We are locked in our classroom, the suspect is trying to get in our classroom and trying to shoot us, we just quickly locked the door and quickly locked the door,” said the caller. “Ten students got injured, the suspect armed with AK-47, white shirt, body armored vest and blue pants, came to our classroom and opened fire on the students…the suspect is still there, repeat the suspect is still there.”
The principal quickly alerted families via the emergency contact system. Some parents arrived at the school to pick up students early, according to the district. The school was on lockdown for about 45 minutes.
Principal Charles Morrison said in a statement: “The Akron Police Department arrived in less than a minute of the call. The school was immediately put on lockdown until the threat was deemed to be false. The building was searched by responding officers within minutes. I want to thank teachers and students for their quick reactions to the lockdown.”
In Cleveland, a similar call was made around 12:30 p.m. with a threat regarding St. Ignatius High School. Parents received alerts saying the facility was on lockdown and to “stay tuned for further instructions.”
At 12:40 p.m., the school alerted parents again, saying: “The lockdown has been lifted; the all-clear has been given by (Cleveland Police Department). There is no cause for danger or alarm; it has been determined to be a widespread false alarm at various schools throughout the state.”
One school each in Trumbull, Mahoning and Columbiana counties also received the threats, according to sister station WKBN.
Meanwhile, several threats were made at schools in other parts of Ohio. According to sister station WCMH, an active shooter was reported at Licking Valley High School around 11:15 a.m. Friday. Authorities say no shots were fired, and there were no injuries.
According to the Newark Division of Police Facebook page, “It appears that this was part of a statewide series of bogus phone calls.”
WCMH also reports Newark City Schools and Columbus’ Cristo Rey Columbus School received threats.
There were also multiple threats made in the Dayton and Cincinnati areas, according to sister station WDTN.
The Ohio School Safety Center issued a statement Friday afternoon, saying it is aware of the threats made to schools across the U.S. and in Ohio this week.
“The OSSC is actively working with the Statewide Terrorism Analysis and Crime Center as well as schools and local law enforcement to support their efforts in the investigation of these threats.
While some of the threats have been determined to be false through law enforcement investigation, the OSSC takes all threats to schools seriously and recommends that schools and first responders do the same.”
The Cleveland office of the FBI released a statement saying it’s aware of the swatting incidents in Northern Ohio.
It went on to say:
“The FBI takes swatting very seriously because it puts innocent people at risk. While we have no information to indicate a specific and credible threat, we will continue to work with our local, state, and federal law enforcement partners to gather, share, and act upon threat information as it comes to our attention. We urge the public to remain vigilant, and report any and all suspicious activity and/or individuals to law enforcement immediately.”