A report of an active shooter at a high school in northeast Tennessee on Tuesday morning led to an emergency evacuation and lockdowns, but that report was a hoax, authorities said.
“This was a hoax. There was no gunfire, nobody injured, and thank God everybody is safe,” Hawkins County Sheriff Ronnie Lawson said.
The incident came on the first full day of school at Volunteer High School in Church Hill. The sheriff’s office received a call shortly before 8 a.m. in which the caller told the 911 dispatcher that “he had been bullied and harassed by popular students and that was he was in the main bathroom within Volunteer and he was armed with a handgun.”
According to Lawson, the caller advised the dispatcher he planned to make his way to the gymnasium and fire his weapon.
Deputies responded and searched the school, but a suspect was not located, and there was no evidence of any gunfire or gunfire-related injuries, Sheriff Lawson said. One student had a seizure, though it did not appear to be related, he added.
He said authorities were investigating where the call originated. Hawkins County Director of Schools Matt Hixson said he expects students will be back in school on Wednesday.
The call to authorities led to the evacuation of students, temporary lockdowns in the area and serious concerns about everyone’s safety.
“There has been an emergency situation at Volunteer High School,” the Hawkins County School District said earlier in a statement on Facebook. “Our major concern at this time is for the safety of our students and staff; please stay clear of the area to allow law enforcement and emergency personnel access to the area.”
According to the school district, students were evacuated to the National Guard Armory where they were being reunited with their parents.
Hawkins County Assistant Superintendent Reba Bailey told CNN that a lockdown at Volunteer High was in place with law enforcement and emergency personnel on the scene. Other schools in the district were also locked down, though those were later lifted.
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