False active shooter reported at Catholic Central HS, among 4 in Ohio

Hoaxes reported at schools in Springfield, Dayton, suburban Cincinnati and Newark.

Credit: Bill Lackey

Credit: Bill Lackey

Catholic Central High School was unaware of an active shooter report Friday morning when police flooded into the campus and entered the school building.

The high school at 1200 E. High St. in Springfield was one of at least four schools in Ohio to receive false reports of an active shooter. Others were Belmont High School in Dayton, Princeton High School in suburban Cincinnati and Licking Valley Local Schools in Newark.

“These types of false calls are a serious criminal act. They can create needless panic and anxiety for our children, their parents and the community at large,” said Springfield police Chief Lee Graf. “We will take every measure to investigate this incident and determine and identify the person or persons responsible.”

A call was made at 10:31 a.m. to the Clark County dispatch’s non-emergency number reporting an active shooter inside the school.

Springfield Police Division officers were at the school within two minutes and immediately entered the school. Clark County Sheriff’s deputies also responded.

“Within approximately five minutes, we reached the door of the classroom that was given to us, and it was determined that there was no active killer in the room, no active shooter in the room,” said Springfield police Capt. Mike Kranz during a Friday afternoon media briefing. “At that point the crews began checking each hallway, each room. They traveled up and down all three floors of the building and were able to determine there was no threat at that time.”

The building was given the all-clear at 10:53 a.m., he said.

Once the threat was determined to be bogus, the city issued a statement shortly after 11 a.m.: “There is NOT a shooter, and students and staff are safe. Springfield police are on scene. There is NO threat at Catholic Central High School, and the school is not closing.”

Catholic Central remained open and dismissed at normal time Friday afternoon. However, police and school officials worked together to set up an area for parents who wanted to pick up their children earlier.

“Our first and only thought was keeping our kids safe,” said Mike Raiff, Central Catholic president, who also spoke at the media briefing.

“It was great collaboration and teamwork between Springfield police and our faculty and staff. Reunification with our parents and our students, collaboration with the Springfield city bus to a remote location to reunify the kids with their parents. We are incredibly blessed and excited that no one got hurt, that we did this effectively and our training paid off,” Raiff said.

Kranz said it appears the active shooter threat is related to others, but that he did not have specific information.

The Ohio School Safety Center announced Friday afternoon that it is working with the Statewide Terrorism Analysis and Crime Center as well as schools and local law enforcement to support their efforts in investigation of the active shooter threats.

This behavior appears to be happening nationally and is known as “swatting.” According to the Washington Post, more than a dozen schools in Minnesota endured hoax active shooter or mass casualty reports this week. Schools in at least 14 other states have reported hoax incidents as well.

Swatting is a form of weaponizing fear and involves making a claim that draws first responders and law enforcement to the location of the said incident, straining their resources. It sparks concern throughout communities, especially those that have previously endured actual active shooter and mass casualty incidents.

Belmont High School in Dayton was put on lockdown at 10:35 a.m. after police received a prank call, said Dayton Public Schools Superintendent Elizabeth Lolli.

Graf said he was proud of the quick response of the officers and deputies.

“I also want to thank the community for their calm and measured response to this situation, as well as the staff and administration at Catholic Central for their assistance and cooperation throughout this incident,” Graf said.

Credit: Bill Lackey

Credit: Bill Lackey

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