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Police say shots audible in threatening 911 call that shut Colorado schools: ‘It was very scary’

Police around the state are investigating threats in five different cities

Abe Asher
Thursday 23 February 2023 01:55 GMT
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Boulder police chief addresses shooting and bomb threat false alarms made against schools

Schools in multiple Colorado towns went into lockdown on Wednesday morning due to a series of unconfirmed threats of violence.

Threats were reported in Boulder, Aspen, Brighton, Canon City, and Alamosa. In a press conference on Wednesday morning, Boulder Police Chief Maris Herold said that a non-emergency dispatch center recieved a 911 call at around 8:30am

“I have listened to this 911 call. It is very scary. In the background, you can actually hear shots being fired,” Mr Herold said. “This prompted an emergency response by the Boulder Police Department and our command center protocol. The way this call came in really was authentic to make you believe we had a real active shooter in front of the school at Boulder High School.”

But Boulder Police did not an active shooter, nor did they find any injuries when searching the school. The city lifted its shelter-in-place order for the school and the surrounding area after several hours. According to a tweet from the police department, buses were sent to the high school to evacuate students and bring them to a reunification centre to meet their families.

The Aspen Police Department has said that their students are safe and buildings secure. The Brighton Police Department tweeted that officers had “found NO credible threat to students or the surrounding community” and had lifted secure status before 9.45am.

The Canon City Police Department posted on Facebook that “early indications are that this was a false report” but added that officers, along with the assistance of other agencies, continued to investigate and assess the validity of the threat.

In a statement, Alamosa School District Superintendent Diana Jones said dispatch received a call from an unknown number at 8.24am reporting a threat of an armed individual at Ortega Middle School but police responded and lifted the lockdown within minutes.

In a statement provided to KDVR, the FBI confirmed that it is assisting local law enforcement agencies in their investigations.

“FBI Denver is aware of numerous threats made today to a variety of organizations and institutions across Colorado,” the statement reads in part. “The FBI works closely with its law enforcement partners by providing resources and guidance in these investigations and can recommend cases for federal prosecution.”

The US has seen a growing number of mass shootings at schools in recent years. It has also dealt with an increasing number of false school shooting threats at schools, a trend that intensified after the shooting at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas, last spring and has continued this fall.

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