Law enforcement declare 911 call about active shooter at New Hanover High School a hoax

Law enforcement declare 911 call about active shooter at New Hanover High School a hoax
Published: Dec. 1, 2022 at 9:18 AM EST|Updated: Dec. 1, 2022 at 4:58 PM EST
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WILMINGTON, N.C. (WECT) - According to the New Hanover County Sheriff’s Office, an active shooter call made to 911 prompted law enforcement to respond to New Hanover High School this morning, Dec. 1. As of about 10:45 a.m., law enforcement have declared the call a hoax and the lockdown has been lifted.

“Shortly before 9 AM this morning 911 received a phone call stating an active shooter at New Hanover high school. New Hanover County Sheriff’s Office SRO’s, along with partnering agencies are in the midst of clearing the school from any possible threat,” stated a Facebook post made by the New Hanover County Sheriff’s Office.

No shots were fired, and law enforcement now considers the call a hoax.

“Law enforcement has lifted the lockdown at New Hanover High School, Williston Middle School, and the International School at Gregory and determined the call was a hoax. Schools are resuming their instructional day, and counseling resources will be available to those who request them,” said New Hanover County Schools.

The district’s Chief Communications Officer, Josh Smith, is thankful the call was fake but says the incident is an opportunity to evaluate safety protocols.

“You go back 20 or 30 years and in the 70s and 80,s it was bomb threats. This is what I consider to be a modern version of a bomb threat,” said Smith. “So, our tactics and our responses have to adjust accordingly. How we communicate has to adjust accordingly and we’re all learning together.”

Smith says the district continues to work on its safety protocols in the wake of a shooting at New Hanover High School in 2021.

“We’re building into the culture since last year, just the day-to-day activities that keep our schools safe. How we work the security vestibules, how people are let in, how doors are closed, and that’s been embedded for the past year,” said Smith.

Meanwhile, an investigation is underway to find the person or people responsible.

“With our technology, we are working relentlessly to find out who did this,” said New Hanover County Sheriff Ed McMahon. “We will hold nothing back in charges so they can be prosecuted to the fullest extent.”

The Cumberland County Sheriff’s Office said in a release on the same day that they received a 911 call that students were shot, but “There was never an actual threat or shooting at Jack Britt High School.” The CCSO mentions a trend of fake 911 calls of active shooters made throughout the United States.

The North Carolina Department of Public Instruction said in a press release that they are aware of the hoax active shooter threats made to the following schools as well:

  • Grimsley High School, Greensboro
  • Hillside High School, Durham
  • Leesville High School, Raleigh
  • New Bern High School, New Bern
  • Northeastern High School, Elizabeth City
  • Roanoke Rapids High School, Roanoke Rapids
  • Vance County High School, Henderson
  • Walter M. Williams High School, Burlington
  • Washington High School, Beaufort
  • Wilkes Central High School, Wilkesboro
Active shooter call prompts law enforcement presence at New Hanover High School, authorities...
Active shooter call prompts law enforcement presence at New Hanover High School, authorities find no indication of shooting(WECT)
Active shooter call prompts law enforcement presence at New Hanover High School, authorities...
Active shooter call prompts law enforcement presence at New Hanover High School, authorities find no indication of shooting(WECT)
Active shooter call prompts law enforcement presence at New Hanover High School, authorities...
Active shooter call prompts law enforcement presence at New Hanover High School, authorities find no indication of shooting(WECT)
Law enforcement park on the road in response to an active shooter call at New Hanover High...
Law enforcement park on the road in response to an active shooter call at New Hanover High School, authorities have found no indication of shooting so far(WECT)