False Report of Shooting Leads to Soft Lockdown of Burroughs High School

John Burroughs High School. (Photo By Ross A. Benson)

It was a typical school day at John Burroughs High School in Burbank until a false report of a school shooting sent the campus into soft lockdown Tuesday. The report came in around 2:37 p.m. when an unidentified caller claimed they had heard about seven gunshots in Room 11E at the school.

Burbank Police Department responded quickly and established that there was no Room 11E on the campus. In an abundance of caution, officers then systematically searched the school campus. Students and staff were ushered into safe areas during a soft lockdown, and police officers conducted their search.

Police descended on the school, and Burbank Fire Department paramedics were on standby in the area in case they were needed as police officers searched for any signs of a shooting.

After thoroughly searching the school and surrounding athletic grounds, the police officers determined that the school shooting report was false. There were no victims, and no evidence of a shooting was found on the campus. The students were allowed to resume classes, and the lockdown was lifted.

According to Sergeant Brent Fekety of the Burbank Police Department, “Occasionally, the Burbank Police Department receives fake emergency calls involving reports of a shooting, stabbing, or bomb threat, which are commonly referred to as “swatting” incidents. These calls involve the action of making a false report of an emergency to bring about the dispatch of a large number of armed police officers or Special Weapons and Tactics teams (SWAT), to a particular address.

This type of false reporting of an emergency is illegal and extremely dangerous. Fake or prank emergency calls place first responders and members of the public at risk and tie up emergency resources. False emergency calls and hoaxes have resulted in serious injury and even death in the United States,” he said in an email release.

The false report of a school shooting at John Burroughs High School was a reminder that false emergency calls are dangerous and can lead to severe consequences.

“The Burbank Police Department takes this issue very seriously and will investigate all false reports of emergencies. Anyone suspected of reporting a false emergency or false crime will be held liable, both criminally and civilly for any costs associated with the response of public safety personnel,” said Fekety.