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Tuesday, March 5, 2024
March 5, 2024

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Clark County deputies respond to prank call for active shooter at Heritage High School

By , Columbian Local News Editor

A prank caller claiming that several students had been shot at Heritage High School prompted a large law enforcement response Tuesday morning. No one was injured.

Clark County sheriff’s deputies were dispatched at 8:23 a.m. to the high school, 7825 N.E. 130th Ave., after a 911 caller, claiming to be a teacher, said seven students had been shot, the sheriff’s office said in a news release.

The first responding deputy, who was previously assigned as a school resource officer at Heritage, arrived within two minutes. Five more deputies arrived less than a minute later, along with numerous other law enforcement agencies, the sheriff’s office said.

Deputies said they quickly determined there was no shooting at the school, and the call was a prank.

In a letter to families Tuesday, Heritage Principal Derek Garrison said deputies were placed at the school as students and staff began the school day “out of an abundance of caution.”

“Unfortunately, there has been a wave of these sort of incidents, also known as ‘swatting,’ around the country. We encourage you to speak to your students about them and make sure they know that these can cause stress and are not harmless pranks,” Garrison said.

The sheriff’s office is investigating the origin of the call. Investigators say the caller had a similar accent and speaking style to someone who reported a false school shooting Sept. 16 at Henrietta Lacks High School in Vancouver.

“The sheriff’s office thanks all the surrounding agencies who quickly responded to the call, Clark Regional Emergency Services Agency who quickly and accurately processed and dispatched the information, as well as Heritage staff and administration who were prepared and worked seamlessly with arriving first responders,” the agency said.

School resource officers were removed in 2020 from schools in unincorporated Clark County when campuses closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, according to the sheriff’s office.

“This incident illustrates the need for law enforcement who are assigned to the security of our schools in Clark County,” the sheriff’s office said.