UPDATE, 5:50 PM — The Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) is collecting information after someone falsely reported an active shooter at Fort Bragg High School at 1:11 p.m. on Monday, the Fort Bragg Police Department said in a news release Monday evening.
The caller contacted police via a non-emergency line, saying that multiple students had been injured. Multiple air ambulances were called and six US Coast Guard rescue helicopters were diverted to Fort Bragg should they be needed; further, ambulances from Adventist Health, Fort Bragg Fire Department, and Fort Bragg Public Works responded. Officers from the Mendocino County Sheriff’s Office, California Highway Patrol, California State Parks, and California Department of Fish & Wildlife searched the property room-by-room, police said.
Fort Bragg police confirmed that the false threat reported at Ukiah High School shortly afterward came from the same caller. Willits Unified School District also received a similar call.
“It is despicable someone would cause this much emotional trauma in our community,” Chief Neil Cervenka said. “This event disrupted hundreds of lives and tied up emergency resources from the local, county, state and federal levels. Despite this being a hoax, I’m very proud of the partnership among so many agencies to ensure the safety of our community.”
Anyone with information on these incidents in Fort Bragg can contact Officer Frank of the Fort Bragg Police Department at (707) 961-2800 ext 139.
Find more information from the Monday “swatting” hoax below.
MENDOCINO Co, CA, 4/3/23 — Students are safe and headed home from Fort Bragg Unified School District after a call to the Fort Bragg Police Department reported that a shot had been fired at the high school Monday afternoon. Subsequent threats reported Monday at Ukiah and Willits schools also appear to have been unfounded.
All schools in the Fort Bragg Unified School District (FBUSD) went into lockdown around 1:30 p.m. Monday, as emergency services including a helicopter responded to the scene. By around 2 p.m. the Mendocino County Sheriff’s Office confirmed to The Mendocino Voice that officers had fully cleared the high school and found no evidence of a shooting. Students were dismissed following a head count.
Shortly afterward, officers were dispatched to Ukiah High School for “the same type of event,” according to scanner traffic. After a few minutes, authorities reported that no evidence of a shooting or active shooter was found at the high school campus.
Then an active shooter was reported in Willits. A spokesperson for the Willits Police Department confirmed that they had sent a couple officers to the school, but found no evidence of a shooter around 2:50 p.m.
“It seems like it’s a spoof here also,” she told The Mendocino Voice. “There’s no evidence of a problem.”
A spokesperson for Fort Bragg High School said she was relieved that students are safe, and that authorities are investigating what seems to be a prank call. The series of apparently false reports have all the makings of “swatting,” a rash of hoax school shooting reports that have impacted schools across the country. According to a post from Willits Unified School District, the Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) has issued a countrywide advisory warning of the trend.
“We will take all calls and reports seriously and respond accordingly for the safety of our students, staff and community,” the district wrote.
“Counselors will be available on campus today and tomorrow for students and families,” FBUSD wrote in a message following the event. “Thank you to our families and law enforcement for handling this situation with calm and patience.”
The Mendocino Voice will update this story as more information becomes available.
Additional reporting contributed by Kate Maxwell.
Note: Kate Fishman covers the environment & natural resources for The Mendocino Voice in partnership with a Report For America. Her position is funded by the Community Foundation of Mendocino, Report for America, & our readers. You can support Fishman’s work with a tax-deductible donation here or by emailing [email protected]. Contact her at KFishman@mendovoice.com or at (707) 234-7735. The Voice maintains editorial control and independence.