MERIDIAN TOWNSHIP, Mich. (WLNS) — There was a major scare at Okemos High School Tuesday morning, with dozens of police officers rushing to the building after reports of an active shooter, but officials have now given the all clear.
No students were injured.
The fake shooting was one of many ‘swatting’ calls reported around the state of Michigan on Tuesday. An MSP official told 6 News that the FBI has now taken the lead on all the swatting reports called in.
Ingham County Sheriff Scott Wriggelsworth and Meridian Township Police Chief Ken Plaga held a press conference outside the school at 10:30 a.m. and then led another press conference at 3 p.m. that also had officials from Okemos Public Schools and the FBI.
Wriggelsworth said Okemos Public Schools should be proud of how they responded to this false alarm. Plaga went one step further, saying had this been a legitimate shooting the action from those working at the school district would’ve saved lives.
The sheriff said he thought this was the real deal as he was driving to the high school, but they were able to quickly prove that reports of someone already being shot were not true. They were able to clear the room where the alleged shooting happened within six minutes.
Okemos Public Schools Superintendent John Hood announced during the second press conference that schools is cancelled for Wednesday. The building will be opened so that kids can come get their stuff they left behind and they will also have mental health specialists available to both students and staff.
In the morning press conference, Wriggelsworth said he was in the building almost immediately after the calls came in at 9:05 a.m. and there were no signs of an active shooter.
Parents were sent to 2 42 Community Church in Okemos to pick up their children.
Frank Walsh, the township manager with Meridian Township, said a comprehensive search was done and the school was given an all clear.
Okemos Public Schools said the lockdown procedures were followed after they learned of the call.
All students in the district were released for the day and all after school activities were cancelled.
As referenced above, there were very similar school shooting hoaxes at numerous other school districts in Michigan on Tuesday, including at Jackson High School, Ann Arbor Huron, Portage, Detroit Renaissance, Muskegon, Battle Creek and more.
Jackson Public Schools said its lockdown was related to a hoax call made by an unknown Google number. Students at Jackson High School and Jackson Pathways were sent home at 10 a.m.
MSP Second District said on Twitter they have received numerous false threats from across the state.
“Please remember reporting a false threat against schools or businesses is a crime,” MSP said. “While some may consider it a joke, it is a good way to ruin your life if convicted of a false threat of terrorism.”
Congresswoman Elissa Slotkin also commented on the scare at Okemos High School, saying she’s in touch with officials on the ground.
“I’m closely watching the situation at Okemos High School & am so incredibly relieved that no one has been injured,” Slotkin said.
This was a true all-hands-on-deck situation for local law enforcement.
Meridian Township sent out a special thanks to the following departments: Ingham County Sheriff’s Office, Michigan State Police, East Lansing Police Department, Lansing Police Department, Michigan State University Police and Public Safety, Lansing Township Police Department, the Federal Bureau of Investigations, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms, the Michigan Department of Natural Resources, the Meridian Township Fire Department, and the East Lansing Fire Department.