Alarmed parents besieged a Texas high school Tuesday after a report of a classroom shooting turned out to be false.
The siege at Thomas Jefferson High School in San Antonio began around 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 put on lockdown as officers entered and began clearing the campus, but found no evidence of an active threat or shooting.
“Our department and the San Antonio Police Department established that there were no shots fired, but then we had to do a methodical room-by-room search with our strike teams,” said San Antonio Independent School District Police Chief of Police Johnny Reyes. San Antonio. “We went to the location where they said the shooting happened and we were able to quickly establish that no shooting happened.”
Instead, some students were found to have gotten into an altercation but denied having or displaying a weapon at any point, Reyes said.
But the frightened students had already made alarming phone calls to their parents, who flocked to the school where 29 school district officers and 58 city police officers were present.
A man pushed his fist through a window in an effort to get into the school, injuring his arm. Police applied a tourniquet to that arm. Others were handcuffed and detained after physically wrestling with officers, but there were no immediate reports of arrests.
CBS San Antonio affiliate KENS-TV obtained videofrom inside the school, showing officers sweeping classrooms to make sure students and staff are safe.
Nehemiah Fernandez, a 14-year-old freshman at Jefferson, was in a class.
“Out of nowhere we heard the closing,” he told KENS. Lockdown.”
Fernandez said that when school closed, the door to her classroom was closed and the lights were off.
“We just got to the side of the classroom by the wall,” he said. “We all sit down. I mean 30 minutes go by, we see two policemen come through the door with big, heavy weapons. It was crazy.”
He texted his mother, Amanda Lara, to let her know he was safe.
“I understand that parents are panicking, scared and nervous, especially after the shooting in Uvalde,” the mother said.
But she didn’t go to 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 September 13 after the school received a threat. Last week’s threats also prompted school closures in 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 hadn’t had Uvalde, maybe we wouldn’t have had the parents’ reaction. So we just have to understand that,” he said.