BLUEFIELD, WV (WVNS) – 9-1-1 centers across the Mountain State received hoax phone calls Wednesday, December 7, 2022, claiming an active shooter situation was occurring inside local schools.
Raleigh, Greenbrier and Mercer counties were among the 13 counties across the state to receive hoax phone calls claiming an active shooter was inside a school Wednesday morning.
Bluefield High School was one of many schools around the state that went into lockdown, but Principal Mike Collins said they were only shut down for a few minutes while the Bluefield Police Department cleared the scene.
“(Bluefield PD) called and said they were going to come up and check things out. So we went on lockdown for about 10 minutes while they came and checked things out,” said Collins. “Of course, we take everything serious when it comes to whether we think it’s a real threat or not. But they came in, checked everything out for about 10 minutes then we were back to normal here at Bluefield High School.”
Raleigh County Schools Superintendent David Price also released a statement that said, in part:
“These calls appear to be coming from out-of-state numbers with false threats. I want to assure everyone we are working with local law enforcement agencies and taking appropriate steps to ensure all students and staff are safe.”David Price, Raleigh County Schools Superintendent
Rob Cunningham, the Deputy Cabinet Secretary with the West Virginia Department of Homeland Security, said this actually happened recently in other states, with similar hoax calls being placed to multiple school districts at the same time.
“I know that the FBI has initiated an investigation on today’s events and believes it is tied in with a nationwide investigation,” Cunningham told 59News.
After it was determined the threats had no credibility, Cunningham admitted he was proud of the speed and efficiency of the coordinated response to the threats. He says the Departments of Education and Homeland Security worked together effectively, and he was also pleased with the swift response from schools and law enforcement agencies all across the state.
“Everyone reacted exactly how it was planned to, and if you’re a parent in this state you should feel comfortable with us having a great plan and having great people to execute it,” said Cunningham.