Authorities said that two high schools in Pinellas County were among more than a dozen in Florida where police looked into claims of active shooters on Tuesday but found them to be unfounded. According to news releases from the St. Petersburg and Pinellas Park police departments, officers responded to calls reporting active shooters at St. Petersburg Catholic High School and Pinellas Park High School shortly after noon on Tuesday.
But neither agency discovered any indications of an active shooter. Yolanda Fernandez, a spokeswoman for the St. Petersburg police, called the call a “hoax,” but said that false information on social media is confusing and alarming parents. Tyrone Square Mall is the best place for parents trying to pick up their children, according to St. Petersburg police.
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According to police, nobody was hurt at either school. The inquiries continue. According to a Facebook post from the Collier County Sheriff’s Office, at least 16 “hoax or swatting calls” were made to Florida schools on Tuesday.
According to social media posts from local police enforcement agencies and school systems, calls were reported in counties throughout the state, including Pinellas, Sarasota, Collier, Orange, Palm Beach, Miami-Dade, and Broward.
According to Fernandez, investigators are trying to find out who made the call about St. Petersburg Catholic High School and whether or not Tuesday’s similar incidents in other parts of Florida are connected. In a tweet regarding a call they looked into, Sarasota police stated that they thought it was a “swatting” call, which is intended to elicit a significant emergency reaction to a bogus threat.
Both the Pasco County Sheriff’s Office and the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office stated that they had not been requested to investigate Tuesday’s calls at schools in their respective counties, but they were aware of the calls in other Florida counties and were continuing to keep an eye on the situation.
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