High School

Fake Okemos High School threat one of many across Michigan – WILX

MERIDIAN TOWNSHIP, Mich. (WILX) – Okemos High School in Meridian Township was placed on lockdown Tuesday morning due to false reports of an active shooter.

Law enforcement responded to the call and searched the school, but found no evidence of shots fired or any threat to the students and staff. After a thorough search, an “all clear” was given and the students were released to the football parking lot.


The Okemos Public Schools District will be closed on Wednesday to allow students, staff and families to process and recover, and to provide a supportive transition for the learning community.

“In my head, this was the real deal,” said Ingham County Sheriff Scott Wriggelsworth. “It’s here and I’m going to get in the building however I can.”

Wriggelsworth was one of dozens of officers that searched Okemos High School. He said he was inside with three Meridian Township police officers within three minutes of the reports of an active shooter.

“When we came in, we heard nothing, saw nothing,” Wriggelsworth recalled. “It was eerie quiet.”

He said that was one of the many things that tipped him off to it being a “swatting” call, where someone calls in a fake emergency to elicit a police response. In this case, authorities said someone posed as a teacher and said someone inside the school had a gun.

“I believe the dispatch center only got one call,” Wriggelsworth said. “Which as you can imagine, if this did turn out to be something, they would’ve gotten multiple calls.”

Police said it was not an isolated incident and they are working with the FBI and ATF to find whoever is responsible.

The Waverly School District issued a “Shelter-In-Place” response out of precaution due to the hoax calls, but the response was lifted at approximately 11 a.m. Jackson High School also reported on social media a “hoax call” led to a lockdown on campus that was cleared.

Michigan State Police reported several “swatting” calls targeting educational facilities around the state, including K-12 schools in Detroit, Jackson, Ann Arbor, Saginaw and Okemos. These calls were reportedly made by a person with a heavy accent, claiming to be a teacher in the school, reporting that a student had shot another student in a room that does not exist.

Related: Police respond to ‘hoax active shooter’ threat at Nouvel, other schools across state

The Detroit South East Michigan Information and Intelligence Center and the Michigan Intelligence Operations Center believe these calls to be part of a coordinated campaign targeting K-12 educational facilities in Michigan. However, they said there are no known specific or credible threats to these facilities.

Read more: Attorney General Nessel addresses swatting incidents at Michigan schools

Ingham County Prosecutor John Dewane released the following statement regarding the incident at Okemos High School:

The false report of a school shooting at Okemos High School today affected our entire community. These reports are terrifying to teachers, parents, students, community members, law enforcement and anyone who has a loved one inside an education building. Any threat of violence against our schools, even when deemed to be false, should be addressed to the fullest extent of the law. This was no mere hoax or victimless prank. For many students and their families, the terror was all too real.

The coordinated response from our community’s teachers and school personnel as well as our law enforcement and medical agencies was extraordinary. This response is what our students, teachers, and community leaders have practiced and prepared for throughout the years. Each agency should be commended for their swift, professional and appropriate actions today.

Today’s incident caused the closure of local schools and created a significant disruption in our students’ ability to learn in a peaceful school environment. It was an unnecessary drain on our community and law enforcement resources.

I believe more than one individual knows the details behind what took place today. I hope that anyone with knowledge will come forward immediately. I trust that law enforcement will and should conduct a full-scale investigation. Making threats of violence against a school has very serious consequences whether a person is joking or not. Students could face discipline within the school district to include expulsion or suspension. Likewise, individuals could face criminal prosecution.

My office takes these cases very seriously and will hold offenders accountable.

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