Chief: St. John school shooter lockdown was false alarm

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Police officers swarmed a northwestern Indiana high school Wednesday on a report of an active shooter that authorities said turned out to be a false alarm.

No shots were fired and no gun was found after a room-by-room search of Lake Central High School, which was on lockdown for most of the day, St. John Police Chief Steve Flores said during a news conference.

Flores said a male student called 911 about 10 a.m. after hearing what he described as a bullet being chambered into a gun in a restroom, prompting numerous police departments to rush toward the school in the suburban town of St. John, about 40 miles southeast of downtown Chicago.

That student and another who was in the restroom were questioned and released from custody, Flores said. Surveillance video helped identify a third student who had just left the restroom and he was shocked when questioned by investigators.

“He had no clue what was going on,” Flores said. “When we spoke to him, he’s like: ‘No, this is what I did. I’m not sure what I would have done to make that noise.'”

Hundreds of parents rushed to the school of about 3,200 students as word spread about the lockdown but students weren’t released until mid-afternoon.

Flores didn’t fault the student for calling 911 although he said he would look into why emergency dispatchers broadcast to officers that it was an active shooting.

“I’d rather be safe than sorry,” Flores said of the student’s call. “I wish it would have been dispatched a little bit different because we were all going here thinking that people were getting shot and that wasn’t the case.”

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