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Tuesday, March 5, 2024
March 5, 2024

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Police respond to school shooting false alarms in Tacoma, Bellingham, Vancouver, other cities


TACOMA — Police responded Tuesday morning to Lincoln High School in Tacoma for a shooting threat that was determined to be a false alarm, according to Tacoma Police Department. Schools in several other counties also received false-alarm threats.

Law enforcement went to high schools in Pierce, Thurston, Clark, Snohomish, Whatcom and Skagit counties Tuesday morning. In Tacoma, police said a 911 caller reported that there had been a shooting at the school. In Rochester, the Sheriff’s Office only said that a threat drew police to respond. In Bellingham, police said a “hoax call” drew a swift response from police. And in Marysville, police said a call to the non-emergency line made false reports of an active shooter.

In Clark County, the sheriff’s office said deputies were dispatched at 8:23 a.m. to Heritage High School after dispatchers received a call from a person claiming to be a teacher inside the school. The caller said seven students had been shot. According to a news release, investigators believe the caller had a similar “accent and speaking style” as the person who made a false report about a shooting at a different Vancouver high school in September.

It’s unclear whether any of the incidents are connected. No shootings were found to have occurred at any of the schools. Police in Tacoma and Marysville said they were aware of the similar incidents in other counties.

Tacoma police Officer Shelbie Boyd said the 911 call about Lincoln High School was made at 9:06 a.m. A spokesperson for Tacoma Public Schools said students were in second period, and the school immediately went into lockdown. The 911 call prompted a large response from law enforcement that included other agencies. Police said officers arrived, cleared the building and determined there was no shooting.

“Anytime there’s even a threat that this is happening, it’s all hands on deck, Boyd said. “All the surrounding agencies that are on the air that are free and clear and can make their way, they do.”

The lockdown was lifted at Lincoln High School, and police said some officers would remain there for the rest of the day. School district spokesperson Kathryn McCarthy said classes are resuming as normal, and she said the school was working to provide counseling support for students this afternoon.

The false report at a Marysville high school was made just before 10 a.m., police said in a Facebook post. In a 10:15 a.m. post, police in Sedro-Wooley said they received a call about an active threat at a high school “minutes ago.” In Thurston County, law enforcement were at Rochester High School by at least 9:18 a.m. to investigate a threat, according to a tweet from the Thurston County Sheriff’s Office. It’s unclear when or how the threat was made, or what the threat was. The office did not respond to multiple phone calls.