HOUSTON — A hoax call led to an active shooter scare at Heights High School, Houston Police Department said.
At 1:11 p.m., HPD said it got a call to the school at 413 E.13th St. about shots being fired and shooting in progress, Chief Troy Finner said. The report claimed 10 people were shot in classroom 213, which turned out to not be true. Officers searched the building as HPD arrived to evacuate students, police said.
Finner said when officers got to the classroom on the opposite side of the building, the door was locked. "Considering what happened recently in an active shooting," officers broke open the door, Finner said. They searched the classroom to make sure everyone was safe.
Police said they ultimately determined the call was a hoax. Aside from the fear and panic that was caused, the magnitude of the law enforcement response to the false report was substantial.
"Whoever made this call just understand when I say all our agencies, including the FBI, we're going to trace it down and we're going to hold them accountable," Finner said.
No students or teachers were injured. One police officer suffered heat exhaustion during the incident. The officer was treated at the scene and released.
Students were dismissed early and taken home on buses.
Twitter user @ggqt3 shared a video from inside a classroom that shows officers entering and asking students to put their hands in the air.
"This is the new reality for our kids who are just trying to learn and live another day! There was an incident at Heights High School in Houston Texas and SWAT is going classroom to classroom," the tweet said.
The Houston Independent School District released the following statement:
"The security of our students and staff is our top priority. Today, a threat was made against Heights High School. As a precautionary measure, Heights High School, Hogg and Hamilton Middle Schools immediately went into lockdown. The Houston Police Department and HISD Police continue to investigate the threat, though no evidence was found to substantiate the threat. Students at Heights High School will be dismissed early and school buses are en route to transport students who normally ride buses."
Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner also released a statement:
“I want to thank Houston Police, Houston Fire, the Harris County Precinct One Constable’s Office, and Houston ISD for their prompt response at Heights High School. While the reports of an active shooter turned out to be false, we are reminded that student safety and school security are paramount on the minds of students, parents and employees of all school districts. Today’s response to the emergency calls reinforces how seriously our first responders take these incidents, and illustrates the constant training they undergo to take such quick and responsive action.”
Law enforcement and school officials said when they find out who made the report, that person will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.