A Tennessee high school was evacuated Tuesday morning after authorities received what they later described as a “hoax” phone call that a shooting was about to take place at the school. No shots were fired at Volunteer High School in Hawkins County, Sheriff Ronnie Lawson said during an afternoon press conference.
One student suffered a seizure around the time of the call, but the two incidents were unrelated, Lawson told reporters.
Just before 8 a.m., a person called 911 claiming to be a student who was armed with a handgun and in one of the school’s bathrooms, Lawson said. The caller said he was about to go to the school’s gymnasium and open fire.
“At this time, everything appears to be this call was a hoax,” Lawson said.
An investigation into the call was ongoing, the sheriff said. “Local, state and federal agencies are going to try their best to find out who made that call and do everything we can to bring them to justice,” Lawson said.
Church Hill Police Chief Chad Mosley said investigators haven’t determined where the call was made.
Asked during the press conference what he would say to the caller, Lawson said, “Hopefully we can say it in person.” Mosley said the call tied up a lot of resources and “put a lot of fear in parents and kids throughout our community.”
In response to the call, multiple schools were placed on lockdown, the Hawkins County School District said. The high school was evacuated, and the school district said on Facebook Tuesday afternoon that students had been reunited with their parents.
Earlier Tuesday, Matt Hixson, the county’s director of schools, said he expected classes would resume Wednesday if police didn’t need to keep the school closed.
“We’ve been through COVID and through a lot of closure, and our intent is to keep students in school and keep them learning,” Hixson said.