Panicked parents besiege Texas high school after shooting turned out to be false

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Alarmed parents laid siege to a Texas high school on Tuesday after a classroom shooting incident that turned out to be false.

The siege on Thomas Jefferson High School in San Antonio began around 1 p.m. Tuesday after police received a report of a possible shooting at the school, according to a police statement. The school was closed when officers entered the campus and began to evacuate the campus, but found no evidence of an active threat or shooting.

“Our department and the San Antonio Police Department determined that there was no shooting, but then we had to methodically search room by room with our assault teams,” said Johnny Reyes of the San Antonio Independent School District Police Department. “We went to where they said there had been shooting and we were able to quickly determine that there had been no shooting.”

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Instead, some students were found to have had an altercation, but they denied having or displaying a weapon at any point, Reyes said.

But anxious students had already made alarming calls to their parents, who flocked to the school where 29 school district officers and 58 city police officers were present.

A man pushed his fist through a window trying to enter the school, tearing his arm. The police put a tourniquet on that arm. Others were handcuffed and detained after physically wrestling with officers, but there were no immediate reports of arrests.

KENS-TV, an affiliate of TBEN San Antonio, has obtained video from inside the school showing officers sweeping classrooms and making sure students and staff were safe.

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Nehemiah Fernandez, a 14-year-old freshman at Jefferson, was in a class.

“Out of nowhere we hear a lockdown,” he told KENS. Lockdown.”

Fernandez said that when the school was locked, his classroom door was locked and the lights were off.

“We just got to the side of the classroom by the wall,” he said. “We all sat down. I want to say that 30 minutes goes by, we see two officers come in the door with big heavy weapons. It was crazy.”

He texted his mother, Amanda Lara, to let her know he was safe.

“I understand that parents are panicked, scared and nervous, especially after the Uvalde shooting,” the mother said.

But she didn’t go to school.

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The shock was the latest in a spate of such incidents since the May 24 mass shooting at an elementary school in Uvalde, Texas which killed 19 children and two teachers. A similar panic occurred at Heights High School in Houston on Sept. 13 after the school received a threat. Threats last week also led to school closures in counties near Austin and Houston and in California, Massachusetts, Florida, Arkansas, Oregon, Illinois, Kansas and Oklahoma.

San Antonio District Superintendent Jaime Aquino said the district needed to find better ways to communicate with parents in real time. “I’m assuming if we hadn’t had Uvalde, maybe we wouldn’t have had the parents’ reaction. So we just have to understand that,” he said.

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