Manchester School Targeted In State-Wide Hoax Of Active Shooter In Schools
Several schools across New Hampshire were reported to have active shooter incidents Wednesday morning. One of the first schools reported was St. John Regional School in Concord.
Concord Police say they received a report of an active shooter in the school at about 9:50 a.m. Sources say the caller indicated they were a teacher who was inside the school and the active shooting was happening.
Concord Police Deputy Chief John Thomas said that police arrived at the school within two minutes, when they arrived all doors to the school were locked. Police broke the glass and breached the doors and made entry believing the children were sheltering in place. When they made entry there were no children inside the school.
Police quickly learned it was a “church day” and all the children and parents were located inside an adjacent building signing Christmas Carols, and doing other activities. When police arrived at that building no one had any knowledge of the active shooter call.
Calls began to come in across the state that was similar. Those calls are reported to have come into schools in Manchester, Dover, Portsmouth, Franklin, and Keene. Police at an impromptu press conference in Concord could not confirm at that time which schools were involved.
Manchester Police Chief Allen Aldenberg confirmed that Manchester had received a similar call Wednesday morning. Chief Aldenberg said that the school involved has school resource officers, and police were quickly able to determine there was not an active shooter.
The Concord report of an active shooter appears to have been one of the first calls in the state. Several surrounding towns, state police, and sheriff departments responded to the school in Concord.
Parents began arriving at the school just after 10 a.m., many frantic not knowing the incident was an apparent hoax. Parents gathered outside an adjacent church waiting for police to assist in reuniting them with their children.
As parents came running to the scene police immediately reassured them that everyone was safe and there was no incident.
Students unaware of what happened were briefed on the situation as parents walked them away from the school to vehicles.
Video of CPD Deputy Chief John Thomas speaking about the incident
“The New Hampshire Information Analysis Center is heavily involved in coordinating these investigations,” Vanessa Palange, a community outreach coordinator for the department of safety, said. “Other jurisdictions across the country have reported receiving hoax calls.”
Palange said that while the reports appear to be hoaxes, all threats were being taken seriously until their validity was determined.
“Everyone is encouraged to report any suspicious activity to their local law enforcement agency,” she said.
©Jeffrey Hastings www.frameofmindphoto.com/news