Hoax calls regarding gunmen on campuses put several Georgia schools on lockdown

Law enforcement in several Georgia cities responded to false threats of violence on school campuses. 

Two of those hoaxes impacted metro Atlanta Schools. A large law enforcement presence converged at Cartersville High School on Wednesday in response to a threat that’s suspected to be part of a chain of hoax threats across Georgia.

According to Cartersville City Schools, the high school received a call at 11:27 a.m. from the Cartersville Police Department about a threat of an active shooter on campus. The school was placed on lockdown. Police the campus was cleared by police at about 12:05 p.m. after a search of the grounds.

"It is our understanding that this is one of several fake 911 calls regarding active shooters at schools that have been made across the state this morning," Cartersville City Schools stated in a news release to FOX 5 Atlanta.

Police presence outside Cartersville High School on Nov. 30, 2022.

Police presence outside Cartersville High School on Nov. 30, 2022. (FOX 5 Atlanta)

The Milton Police Department said someone called 911 claiming to be a Cambridge High School teacher. The caller claimed shots had been fired at the school, but Milton police said administration reported not incidents on the campus. The school when on hard lockdown as a precaution. 

In a message to Cambridge High School families, Principal Ashley Agans said the incident was an attempt at "swatting," when someone falsely reports violence to law enforcement trying to provoke a SWAT team to respond.

"While I am relieved that all is OK, this act still caused anxiety and fear for our students, teachers, staff, and families," Agans wrote. "I do want to thank Milton Police, the Fulton County Schools Police, and all our teachers, administrators, and staff who followed through with protocols to ensure that everyone was safe."

Several other schools in Georgia reported similar incidents. Threats were also reported Wednesday in connection with schools in Savannah, Valdosta, Augusta and Brunswick, all of which turned out to be hoaxes.

School threat hoaxes reported to FOX 5 Atlanta by police.

School threat hoaxes reported to FOX 5 Atlanta by police. (FOX 5 Atlanta)

In these cases, multiple law enforcement agencies responded to each school before determining that the report was a hoax.

Cartersville City Schools Superintendent Marc Feuerbach said, "Our first priority is for the safety and well-being of our students, their families, and our staff. When we enact a lockdown, it can bring concern and uncertainty; however, our students and staff carried out the procedure quickly and efficiently. I especially appreciate the support of our local law enforcement agencies who responded to the call quickly and found the threat to be invalid."

Gov. Brian Kemp issued a statement regarding the hoax calls saying in part that "every single resource" would be used to find those responsible for "these acts of domestic terrorism."

Officials have not said if they think that the threats are connected to a single source or if they are coming from multiple individual suspects.

Multiple law enforcement agencies responded to reports of a gunman near two Savannah high schools before determining it was a hoax. (Courtesty WTOC)

You can read the full statement below:

"The security of schools across multiple coastal counties was unexpectedly put to the test this morning due to a cruel hoax. Law enforcement across all levels immediately sprang into action. They did not hesitate to rush toward potential danger to protect our children. Within five minutes of the first emergency call at the first school, state troopers were in the building, combing for any threats. I want to thank every law enforcement entity involved in today's emergency responses. 

As a father of three daughters, the possibility of an active school shooter is a concern that I ask God to guard against every day. That is school in the state my first year in office and why we have followed up with further school security grants since then. By the end of this year, we will also have trained over 400 school resource officers and provided them with further supports. 

Rest assured, for the criminals who orchestrated these hoaxes, we will go after them with every single resource available. The FBI is actively investigating these acts of domestic terrorism, and we will continue to diligently work with them to see these culprits are prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law."