OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – School districts across the state were on high alert today after a series of false 911 calls about active shooter threats were made at more than half a dozen schools in several cities, including Tulsa, Stillwater, Bartlesville, Perry, Miami, Enid, Medford, Durant and Ardmore.
Multiple law enforcement including local police, the Oklahoma Highway Patrol and the Oklahoma City field office of the FBI are now investigating.
But, the calls were a hoax, no shootings occurred, and no staff and students were in danger.
“It is something we do not take lightly. To us it’s not a prank, this was serious and actually, it’s criminal,” said Trooper Eric Foster of the Oklahoma Highway Patrol.
“We found out, and thankfully so, that these threats were not real. But that doesn’t matter. Law enforcement will continue to respond as if they’re real,” he added.
“Up until September, the idea of someone calling in a hoax threat of an active shooter in a school was pretty unusual,” said Mo Canady, who served as Executive Director for the National Association of School Resource Officers (NASRO)
“But this is different because they’re actually calling in, claiming that there’s an event going on [and] it really is a it’s a dangerous situation in a lot of ways and harmful, to say the least. And it’s criminal,” he added.
Canady said Oklahoma is one of many states across the country that have been hit with false school threats; he said the incidents in Oklahoma is a risk for all involved.
“[Emergency responders] are coming with lights and sirens, certainly doing our due diligence and trying to get there safely. But any time we have an emergency response like that, whether it’s law enforcement vehicles or our fire and rescue vehicles that are running code, that that raises the element of danger to everyone,” he said.
“It doesn’t have to be real for the trauma to be there. It just has to be believed that it’s real. So now we’re having to deal with the circumstance of of kind of unpacking this to students and staff,” he added.
Authorities are looking for a suspect.
Late Thursday investigators found that the threat involving Enid High School was not related to the others, and a student was responsible for that 911 call.
The student was arrested on “complaints of misuse of the 911 system, terrorism hoax and false reporting of a crime”.
“It’s not uncommon for us to be dealing with a lot of situations happening throughout the state all at the same time. And this was no different. When something happens in one township, those troopers that are responsible for that area, they respond and they respond with the municipalities, with the sheriff [and with other agencies]. Whether it’s real or fake, we are coming quickly [to] stop the threat.”