EVANSVILLE, Ind. (WEHT) – Police say a string of fake school threats have reached parts of the Tri-State. A 9-1-1 call indicated someone was inside Memorial High School with a gun. It turned out to be false, but not before police swarmed the school. That call is something that any parent or loved one fears.
“It’s always a scary feeling when you know that you’re loved one is in a position that something terrible could happen to them,” says Glamor Taylor, whose grandson is a senior at Memorial. Police say the calls came in shortly after 8:15 in the morning, and Taylor quickly learned of the possible threat.
“My heart was just racing, my heart was just racing,” recalls Taylor. “I mean I couldn’t get down here fast enough.”
Taylor’s grandson, De’marviyon Vaughn, recalls those scary moments from inside his classroom.
“We just got done with a test,” says Vaughn, “we’re all on the bottom floor, so we’re looking out the window and police are just running into the building, and it was like oh my gosh, what’s going on”?
Vaughn says his teachers told the class to stay calm and assured students everything would be alright. He says teachers also locked doors and closed the window blinds. Nicole Pollard says her daughter initially believed it was a drill.
“This is your worst nightmare, you know,” says Pollard. “Knowing that your child is inside a building where there could possibly be somebody with a gun. That’s how I feel.”
We kind of quickly determined it was a false call,” says Cpt. Brent Hoover with the Evansville Police Department. “Probably appears it came in from somewhere out of state or not local.”
Hoover says this is not an isolated incident. Similar threats were made to schools across the region, including Louisville, Lexington, Cincinnati, Dayton, and Medina, located just south of Cleveland. Another possible local connection comes in Madisonville, Kentucky where a false threat was received at James Madison Middle School.
“They went into their protocols like they should making sure everybody’s safe and then we did what we did to make sure the building’s clear and everybody’s safe as well,” says Cpt. Hoover.
Vaughn calls the incident uncalled for, and says any false threat is “immature”. Once the all-clear was given, Vaughn reunited with his family and stayed home for the rest of the day.
“I don’t feel safe anymore. I just don’t feel safe,” says Vaughn. “My life comes first and I want to be with my family for this day.”
The Catholic Diocese of Evansville released a statement on the incident, which can be read in its entirety below. School officials at Memorial also posted a video statement, which can be viewed here.
The safety of students, faculty and staff at the Diocese of Evansville’s 26 Catholic schools is of
This morning, Nov. 8, law enforcement was notified of a potential threat at Reitz Memorial High School. The school immediately transitioned to a lockdown, and all students, faculty and staff are safe.
Law enforcement officials conducted a thorough search of the building and school property, and found nothing to substantiate the threat. The school has received an all clear.
Reitz Memorial and the Diocesan Catholic Schools Office are grateful for the immediate
response by local law enforcement in ensuring that students, faculty and staff at the school today were in no danger.