HOLLYWOOD, FLA. (WSVN) - A lockdown at McArthur High School was lifted after police determined someone made a prank call saying there was an active shooter on campus.
Hollywood Police arrived to the school at 6501 Hollywood Blvd. just after 12:45 p.m., Friday.
According to police, someone had called 911 and reported an active shooter on campus.
Investigators said this was a swatting call, which is when someone calls in to fake an incident.
“It just scared me,” said a student. “I know my mom is probably having a panic attack. I don’t have my phone.”
The call police received involved a gunman with body armor who was in the school shooting people.
“It was a scary moment. The kid, one of the gunmen, was supposed to be in my class, but he never showed up,” said student Jakiyah Jefferson as she fought back tears. “I’m just happy to be alive.”
The scare drew concern among parents who came to the school, as rumors raced through the student body and fear mounted.
“They just said ‘possible active shooter,’ so I just came right over to see what I could find out,” said a mother.
Broward County Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Vickie Cartwright spoke to parents outside the school. She stressed this was all a hoax.
“Our children are safe. There were no shots fired at this school, no shots fired,” she said. “Unfortunately, this is someone doing a very bad thing, calling 911 and saying that there was an active shooter situation at this school.”
Law enforcement went into the school and searched all the rooms and buildings for a potential shooter or anyone injured.
7Skyforce hovered over the scene where a large police presence could be seen at the school, as well as fire rescue.
Meanwhile, students who were in a position to get out opted to do so.
“I saw a whole bunch of people running, and they’re like, ‘They’re shooting, they’re shooting,’ so I ran out super fast,” said student Noah Delorios.
“The security guards were driving golf carts, and they were like, ‘Go, go, go,’ so we just left,” said student Arodys Garcia. “We jumped the fence and everything.”
A picture taken inside a classroom showed students sitting on the floor and a police officer holding a gun.
Students also shared cellphone video showing officers inside dark classrooms and a dark gym.
“[My son] is actually texting me, laying on the floor,” said parent Carissa Moore.
Moore’s replies to her son’s text read, “I love you. I’m going to ride by and see” and “Stay down.”
“This is too much. This world is going to hell,” she said.
No shooter was found, and there were no reported injuries.
Authorities on the west coast of Florida said a similar incident happened on their side of the state as well.
Several parents waited at the Boyd-Panciera Family Funeral Care, where they met with their children after police released them from the school.
But before they were reunited, the wait was agonizing for several parents.
“We don’t know yet,” said a father.
“I’m really nervous. I don’t know what’s happening, and I’m really, really nervous. I just want my daughter,” said a mother.
“We’re like really, extremely nervous, like, it’s not a joke ’cause obviously we see this all the time in the news, and we’re really scared,” said a family member.
“I’m very, very nervous, but I know how to remain calm, because you can’t get anything done if you’re freaking out,” said another mother.
About an hour later, relieved parents learned the incident stemmed from a prank call.
Parents were seen hugging their children.
“Now I feel more at ease knowing that they’re safe and knowing that they haven’t heard any gunshots or anything,” said a mother. “I don’t like the fact that the school, I feel like they’re downplaying it.”
“[This is] the world we live in, and it’s sad,” said another mother.
Traffic was rerouted around the school.
Police are attempting to determine who made the call, as they continue to investigate.
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