JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (WJHL) – Tennessee’s top law enforcement agency said Wednesday that hoax calls of active shooters at high schools across the state have prompted law enforcement responses. Schools in Johnson City, Bristol, Kingsport and Greeneville appear to be among those affected.
The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation (TBI) stated in a release that multiple police departments in the state have received calls claiming an active shooter is at one of their local high schools.
The TBI also stated that as of 11:23 a.m., “none of these reports has proven credible.” The TBI also stated there is no threat to the public known at the time.
On Wednesday evening, the TBI announced that the Federal Bureau of Investigation was assisting in the case as the responsible party is sought.
News Channel 11 was on the scene at Science Hill High School where police had responded with emergency lights earlier in the day. As of 11:30 a.m., a Johnson City spokesperson said that police cleared the school.
Johnson City Schools provided News Channel 11 with the following statement:
“Science Hill High School was made aware of a hoax threat that appears to have been made to several schools across the state. The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation is currently investigating this statewide situation. Science Hill’s campus has been swept by the Johnson City Police Department and they do not believe that there is a threat to students at this time. They are continuing to investigate the source of the threat and there are police currently on campus. Again, JCPD has swept the campus and believes there is no threat to students at this time. We will update families as soon as we have more information.”Johnson City Schools
According to the Johnson City Police Department, Science Hill was no longer in lockdown following the response and an increased police presence will be at all schools in the city this week.
Johnson City Schools sent the following statement to families:
“Good afternoon, JCS families. We wanted to follow up on our earlier communication with more information. Like other school districts in Tennessee, we dealt with a hoax communication regarding the threat of an active shooter at Science Hill High School this morning around 11:07 a.m.
Science Hill High School was placed on a soft lockdown as authorities responded. The Johnson City Police Department was on Science Hill’s campus in under a minute. Before they entered the building, they learned that the situation was a hoax. As a precaution, the building was swept, and it was determined there was no viable threat. Students were released from the soft lockdown around 11:44 a.m. and returned to a normal schedule. None of our elementary schools or middle schools were placed on lockdown, nor were they ever under any threat. There is not an ongoing threat but JCPD will continue to have an increased presence at all schools this week.
The TBI released a statement this morning, saying they are currently working with state and federal partners to determine the source of several hoax calls, placed to local law enforcement agencies, reporting an active shooter at several high schools in the state. None of these reports has proven credible and there is no known immediate threat to public safety at this time.
Again, you can expect to see additional law enforcement around Science Hill and our other schools for the next few days. We appreciate our community partners for their prompt response today.”Johnson City Schools
A Bristol, Tennessee City Schools spokesperson said a call was made to Tennessee High School Wednesday morning with a threat of an active shooter inside the school. The Bristol Tennessee Police Department (BTPD) responded to the school and was clearing the entire building room-by-room as of 11:42 a.m.
Bristol City Schools plans to notify parents as soon as Tennessee High School is cleared, the statement reads. The school district said Bristol elementary schools and Tennessee Middle have been placed in lockdown as part of a response.
A press conference with Bristol City Schools and the BTPD is scheduled for 12:45 p.m. Wednesday.
Kingsport City Schools (KCS) sent a message to families within the district, stating that it was “dealing with what is widely believed to be a hoax communication regarding the threat at Dobyns-Bennett.”
According to KCS, Kingsport police and school administration are working with others across the area and state to find the source of the suspected hoax call. The message stated that operations were taking place at all KCS schools as usual while law enforcement investigates.
The Kingsport Police Department and school resource officers within the KCS system are at Dobyns-Bennett but do not believe there is any threat to students.
At 12:18 p.m., the Greeneville Police Department (GPD) announced that investigators were aware of 911 calls being made claiming an active shooter was at Greeneville Middle and High School. The GPD said investigators were looking into the calls and believe they are also fake threats.
The GPD referenced similar false threats made to nearby school systems.