Schools across Pennsylvania hit with active shooter, bomb threat hoaxes
Families of students at Farrell High School in Mercer County were hit with a major scare Wednesday morning when a report of an active shooter in the area surfaced.
This caused multiple police departments to quickly respond to the scene, only to find out that this was nothing but a hoax. Farrell High School was on lockdown for about 30 minutes before police confirmed the threat to be fake.
"It's very frustrating because of what just previously happened and has been happening in this world, that someone would call and say students were hurt and injured," said Joey Brant, Detective Corporal at Farrell Police Department.
Mercer County Public Safety Director, Frank Jannetti tells 21 News Farrell is not the only school district that's fallen victim to this hoax. Jannetti confirmed that schools in Lawrence, Beaver and Allegheny Counties in Pennsylvania were hit with the exact same prank.
While police don't feel the Farrell situation was a waste of resources, they do tell 21 News they feel a level of frustration when put in a position that prevents them from assisting elsewhere.
"It's something that's always in the back of your mind is are we getting pulled away from something else," said Hermitage Police Chief, Adam Piccirillo. "When you find out at the end that they are hoaxes it's just such a gross misuse of resources," he said.
Despite all that's happened, Farrell police tell 21 News they were pleased at response times and to see at least eight agencies rallying behind them.
WPXI in Pittsburgh reported a heavy police presence at both Central Catholic and Oakland Catholic Schools in Pittsburgh's Oakland neighborhood in reference to these threats. Police also believe these to be hoaxes.
According to a press release from Pennsylvania State Police, these threats came in the form of a series of calls to various county 911 centers involving reports of either an active shooter situation or a bomb threat.
PSP says all of these calls had "similar content" and that all of them were determined to be false. The situation is currently under investigation.
In addition, Austintown Police Chief, Bob Gavalier tells us there is a heavier police presence at Austintown Schools in reference to a threat made over a live video on social media platform, Instagram.
At this time, it is unknown if this alleged threat is connected to these Pennsylvania threats in any way. The FBI is currently investigating.
21 News is working to gather more information on this story. Stay connected online and on air for the latest updates.