CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCBD) – An investigation is underway after Charleston Police received a hoax phone call claiming there was an active shooter at Burke High School.
According to police, this was a “swatting call,” which is a fake phone call made with the intention of bringing in a large police, fire, and EMS presence.
The call not only sparked a large response, but also concern from parents and grandparents.
“I’m just glad that no one’s kid got hurt, and everything is going to be all right. But still, we need to find out who did this. This is not a game,” said Paula Mitchell, who rushed to the school after hearing there may be a shooter in the same building as her granddaughter.
According to Charleston Police, the hoax call was made on Wednesday morning from an unknown location. The caller claimed to be locked in a closet. The school was put on lock down while police searched for possible victims or suspects. None were found.
“Several more calls did come in from the same caller indicating there were still shots being fired. At that time, we had more than 25 officers already on scene. None of them reported hearing or seeing anything,” explained Capt. Jason Bruder with the Charleston Police Department.
Parents and families of the students came to the school, some even signed their kids out for the day.
“Very quickly we were able to start sending out text messages, our CCSD alerts, and notifying the parents and guardians about what was happening,” said Andy Pruitt, the Director of Communications for the Charleston County School District.
Pruitt encouraged parents and guardians to make sure their contact information is up to date in PowerSchool so they can receive alerts such as the ones sent on Wednesday.
Charleston was not the only place to receive this type of call. There were about eight other incidents in South Carolina. Law enforcement agencies responded to Beaufort High School for reports of shots fired on Wednesday. No victims were located, and the origin of the call is under investigation.
“These types of calls aren’t something that you should play around with, they are something that is very dangerous, they require a lot of officers and police and fire resources to go to them which means they aren’t able to save somebody else’s life at that time,” said Bruder.
Although it’s too soon in the investigation to tell, Capt. Bruder said he suspected the calls in South Carolina were likely connected. He said the incidents can result in jail time for the caller.