santa cruz high school shooting threat hoax
State Park Rangers ready their firearms on Chestnut Street near Santa Cruz High following the report of an active shooter at the campus Wednesday morning. Photo: Tarmo Hannula/The Pajaronian

SANTA CRUZ—Santa Cruz Police and school officials believe that a threat of a shooting at Santa Cruz High School is false, and there have been no reports of anyone injured.

SCPD Chief Bernie Escalante said at an early Wednesday afternoon press conference that a call reporting “an active shooter in a classroom with multiple shots with multiple victims” was unfounded.

“Up to this point, we have not found any signs of an active shooter, or any injuries on the campus,” he said. 

Still, law enforcement officials cleared the school, and parents were able to pick their kids up at a reunification center at Depot Park as police completed their search.

Parent Andrea Parker said her 9th grade son, who was already worried about the growing instances of school violence, texted her right away to say he was OK. 

Still, while driving to a designated meeting spot, she heard a report on the radio that there was a man with a gun and someone was injured.

“It was really terrifying,” she said.

In an email to parents, Santa Cruz City Schools Superintendent Kris Munro said that the anonymous threat to the school named a classroom that does not exist, and there have been no incidents of violence at any SCCS campus.

“While we are cooperating with police as they investigate an anonymous report of an active shooter, there is currently no confirmation of a shooter today,” Munro wrote. “We are cooperating with Police as they follow full protocols to ensure students’ safety.”

All SCCS schools have been locked down “out of an abundance of caution,” Munro said. At least one parent at Aptos Jr. High, within the Pajaro Valley Unified School District, said she received a call about the campus being locked down at the onset of the incident. That call was modified a short while later with less urgency, she said.

More than 100 law enforcement officials from Santa Cruz and Scotts Valley police departments, along with California Highway Patrol, around 20 from Watsonville Police, State Park Rangers, Scotts Valley Police, and Santa Cruz County Sheriff’s Office responded to the incident. 

Escalante said that air support was dispatched within five minutes, with a helicopter and an airplane continuing to circle the school, while police used a drone to look into windows of every classroom.

An all-clear message was sent to all law, fire and ambulance officials at 2pm and students were allowed to return to campus.

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