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NHCSO: Bogus 'swatting' call spurred heavy law enforcement response at New Hanover High School

Rachel Keith
Law enforcement, including the Wilmington Police Department and New Hanover County Sheriff's Office, responded to New Hanover High School on Thursday morning.

According to the New Hanover County Sheriff's Office, there was no evidence of gunfire and no injuries. Officials say other jurisdictions also received 'the same phone call,' leading them to believe it was a 'swatting call.'

Note: This is a developing story and will be updated with more information as it becomes available.

According to NHCSO, law enforcement responded to a 911 call made shortly before 9 a.m. claiming there was an active shooter at New Hanover High School.

NHCSO spokesperson Lt. Jerry Brewer said officials believed it to be a "swatting call" — that's a bogus call made for the purpose of eliciting a SWAT team response. Other jurisdictions also received the same call, according to NHCSO.

Officials didn't specify what those jurisdictions are, but WRAL reports that there were similar calls in Durham and Fayetteville. In October, schools across South Carolina received similar fake calls.

Related: Disturbing, fake 911 calls claim students shot at Fayetteville school, hoax prompts lockdown in Durham (WRAL)

Brewer said there was no evidence of gunfire and no reported injuries. NHCSO and other agencies were still working to completely clear the campus as of 10 a.m.

Parents of NHHS students say they were notified by the school district that there had been an 'active shooter' alert, but that no shots had been fired and no injuries had been reported. NHHS, Williston Middle School, and the International School at Gregory were all placed on lockdown "out of an abundance of caution," according to the New Hanover County Schools district; those lockdowns were lifted after 11 a.m.

Though law enforcement does believe the incident to have been a prank, several parents on the scene noted it was particularly distressing given the very real shooting in August 2021 at NHHS.

Related: One wounded in shooting at New Hanover High School, one suspect arrested

That incident sent one victim to the hospital and the shooter to prison, and left the school — and the community at large — shaken.

Ben Schachtman is a journalist and editor with a focus on local government accountability. He began reporting for Port City Daily in the Wilmington area in 2016 and took over as managing editor there in 2018. He’s a graduate of Rutgers College and later received his MA from NYU and his PhD from SUNY-Stony Brook, both in English Literature. He loves spending time with his wife and playing rock'n'roll very loudly. You can reach him at BSchachtman@whqr.org and find him on Twitter @Ben_Schachtman.