Petal School District Police Department officials have determined that the case is closed in regards to the recent “swatting hoax” call that falsely reported an active gunman on the Petal High School campus, resulting in several states of lockdown at schools throughout the district.
While the caller’s identity has not been identified, The Pine Belt News has received the results of a record request showing the exact details of the call.
According to documents obtained from Petal City Hall, the call came to the Petal Police Department on October 7 via a landline, which is not a recorded line. The details of the call – which came from (810) 368-8783 – along with the times of police action are as follows:
- 9:25 a.m.: A person speaking “extremely broken English” reports to officers that Petal High School was actively firing. The caller also claimed to be a teacher at the school (this was quickly determined to be incorrect).
- 9:26 a.m. Police are advised that there is no teacher from a school in the district who matches the caller’s description.
- 9.28am: Police units checked all schools where students were present at the time.
- 9:28 a.m.: There are school staff on every campus with students.
- 09:29: Nearby authorities are notified.
- 9:29 a.m.: Officers note that the caller sounds “possibly Middle Eastern” and continued to repeat “hello” and report an active high school gunman, where he still claimed to be a teacher. Officers noted that they “couldn’t understand the rest”.
- 9.34am: Workers were cleaning the building at Petal Primary School, where there were no students.
- 9:58 a.m.: Police D units look up the caller’s number.
- 9:59 a.m.: Police called the number several times with no answer; the call goes straight to voicemail with the message “the SMS subscriber is not available”.
The seven police officers who reported the incident are listed as follows:
- Cody Crawford. Shipped at 9:25 AM, en route at 9:26 AM, arrived at 9:26 AM and cleared at 9:59 AM
- Charles Sims. Shipped at 9:25 AM, en route at 9:26 AM, arrived at 9:26 AM and cleared at 9:59 AM
- Aaron Jernigan. Shipped at 9:25 AM, en route at 9:26 AM, arrived at 9:26 AM and cleared at 9:59 AM
- Emily Holder. Shipped at 9:25 AM, en route at 9:26 AM, arrived at 9:26 AM and cleared at 9:59 AM
- Chance Gardner. Shipped at 9:25 AM, en route at 9:26 AM, arrived at 9:26 AM and cleared at 9:59 AM
- Todd Wilson. Shipped at 9:25 AM, en route at 9:26 AM, arrived at 9:26 AM and cleared at 9:59 AM
- Casey Wally. Shipped at 9:35am, en route at 9:35am, arrived at 9:35am and 9:59am
Petal School District superintendent Matt Dillon said that once officials heard of the caller, the high school was shut down and school staff were conducting soft shutdowns on other Petal Plus campuses — which were in session during the district’s break — and no threat of that. any kind.
“We have searched all buildings and classrooms with the help of our school staff, our administrators and the Petal Police Department,” Dillon said on the afternoon of the call. “After doing some more research into the phone number that this call came from, we discover that it comes from an automated number. After doing more research, these are hoaxes and these false reports are taking place in our state and across the country.
“Today there were several other school districts experiencing the same thing at about the same time in our state. We resumed operations when we learned through our police department and others that these are false reports happening around us. There was no threat – all children and staff are safe.”
All families with students in the Petal Plus program were notified through the district’s school status system, which sends information via text messages and emails. Dillon also sent information to all teachers, staff and all parents in the school district.
According to www.edweek.org, dozens of schools in states such as Arkansas, California, Colorado, Florida, Missouri, Texas and Virginia have also closed after receiving similar fake calls called “swatting” hoaxes. Several callers have claimed to be inside the buildings and have given false details such as room numbers or injured students.
“I’ve shared (some information) to better educate people about what’s happening in our state and country, and how to get people to stop doing things like this in our schools and make people worry and alarming. make it when it’s not necessary,” Dillon said. “It’s very worrying, and if we can educate people and let people know what’s happening, hopefully we can prevent this kind of thing from happening in our schools.”
Dillon praised the actions and procedures of the district staff during the lockdowns.
“You never know when things are real and when they are false reports; you have to treat everything as if it were real,” he said. “Our teachers, staff, administrators – everyone has done a great job of carrying out our lockdown procedures and knowing what to do.”
School district officials quickly worked with Petal Police personnel to determine the identity of the caller, but no conclusions were drawn on the matter.