Alarmed parents laid siege to a Texas high school Tuesday after a classroom shooting report that ultimately proved to be false.
The siege at Thomas Jefferson High School in San Antonio began about 1 p.m. Tuesday after police received a call of a possible shooting in progress at the school, according to a police statement. The school was placed on lockdown as officers entered and began clearing the campus but found no evidence of an active threat or shooting.
“Our department and San Antonio Police Department established there was no shooting, but then we had to do a methodical search room by room with our strike teams,” said Chief Johnny Reyes of the San Antonio Independent School District police. “We went to the place where they said the shooting had occurred and we were able to quickly establish that no shooting had happened.”
Instead, some students were found to have had an altercation, but they denied having or displaying a weapon at any point, Reyes said.
But frightened students already had made alarming telephone calls to their parents, who descended en masse on the school where 29 school district officers and 58 city police officers were on hand.
One man shoved his fist through a window in an effort to gain entry to the school, lacerating his arm. Police applied a tourniquet to that arm. Others were handcuffed and detained after physically struggling with officers, but there were no immediate reports of arrests.
CBS San Antonio affiliate KENS-TV obtained video, from inside the school, showing officers sweeping classrooms making sure students and staff were safe.
Nehemiah Fernandez, a 14-year-old freshman at Jefferson, was in a class.
“Out of nowhere we just hear lockdown,” he told KENS. Lockdown.”
Fernandez said when the school as locked down, his classroom door was locked and the lights were turned off.
“We just got to the side of the classroom by the wall,” he said. “We all sat down. I want to say 30 minutes go by, we see two cops come in the door with big heavy guns. It was crazy.”
He texted his mom, Amanda Lara, to let her know he was safe.
“I do understand parents panicking, scared and nervous especially after the Uvalde shooting,” the mom said.
But she didn’t go to the school.
The scare was the latest in a wave of such incidents sincethat killed 19 children and two teachers. A similar panic occurred at Heights High School in Houston on Sept. 13 after the school received a threat. Threats last week also prompted school shutdowns at districts near Austin and Houston and in California, Massachusetts, Florida, Arkansas, Oregon, Illinois, Kansas and Oklahoma.
San Antonio district Superintendent Jaime Aquino said the district needed to find better ways to communicate with parents in real time. “I’m assuming that if we had not had Uvalde, perhaps we would not have the reaction of the parents. So we just have to understand that,” he said.