Kenton Ridge High School hoax call: ‘A guy came in with a gun’

Credit: Bill Lackey

Credit: Bill Lackey

The caller behind the hoax call at Kenton Ridge High School earlier this week that triggered a large police response claimed a shooter had entered a restroom at the school and “opened fire” on students was escaping on foot.

The newspaper received 36 minutes of call audio related to Tuesday’s hoax call in a public records request.

A male caller with a heavy accent claimed a man entered a bathroom at Kenton Ridge High School and shot students around 12:20 p.m. on Tuesday, according to dispatch records.

The caller told dispatchers that four students were injured.

“When I was leaving the restroom, a guy came in with a gun and opened fire on students in the bathroom,” the caller, who told dispatchers his name was Mark Williams, said. “He’s a white male with a blue shirt and black pants.”

The caller claimed he was hiding and the shooter was leaving the school building on foot, according to dispatch records. He talked to dispatchers for roughly 4 minutes before he stopped talking.

“Mark… Mark, are you there?” the dispatcher asked. “Hello? Mark, are you still with me?”

The dispatcher continued to say Mark’s name and ask for him to answer for the next half-hour.

“He’s not said anything after he told me they left on foot,” the dispatcher told someone not on the call.

The call ends after several more minutes of silence.

The Clark County Sheriff’s Office immediately responded and conducted a room-by-room search of the school on Tuesday. Deputies did not find anything in their search, according to Northeastern Local School District officials.

Sheriff’s office cruisers left the scene around 1 p.m. on Tuesday.

Kenton Ridge officials had ordered a shelter-in-place command after the call that referred to a possible active shooter, according to district officials.

The district statement said deputies conducted an investigation and confirmed this was a swatting incident, which are threats made to schools with the purpose of triggering a response by police and first responders.

“Swatting incidents instill fear and panic throughout school communities and disrupt first responder agencies. These incidents can be traumatic for everyone involved and cause anxiety for our families, students, staff and community,” the district stated.

Similar bogus calls have happened at other schools locally, in Ohio and around the country in recent months.

On Tuesday, school and law enforcement officials condemned the deliberate hoaxes, which hit Thurgood Marshall in Dayton, Elder in Cincinnati, Olentangy near Columbus and Coventry schools in Akron.

Last year in Clark County, hoax calls about shootings at Catholic Central were made in both September and October.

A change in Ohio law starting April 3 will allow prosecutors to issue a felony charge of swatting against those who deliberately call or text law enforcement with false school threats. If found guilty, the offender can be required to pay back the fees associated with law enforcement going to the false threat.

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