Hoax threats at 2 Bay Area schools lead to campus lockdowns, police responses

HORIZONTAL - The Palo Alto Police Department logo on the door a police car in Palo Alto, Calif. on September 9, 2009. (Ananda Paulas/Bay City News)

Two Bay Area schools dealt with threats that ended up being hoaxes on Monday. In both instances there was a heavy police response nonetheless. 

A shelter-in-place at Gunn High School in Palo Alto was lifted Monday afternoon after police searched the area and found no sign of a threat. Police initially called this an unconfirmed threat towards the school. 

Two separate callers phoned in hoax calls to police dispatch, saying they had seen a person with a rifle walking towards the high school while the school received a simultaneous bomb threat. Both emergency calls were fake. Investigators are working to identify the suspects police said. 

Palo Alto police first announced the threat to the campus at 780 Arastradero Road at about 2:35 p.m. and said that the nearby Fletcher Middle School was also in a shelter-in-place as a precautionary measure. 

Police told the community that all students and staff are safe and updated the situation on their X page on social media. 

In one of their updates, police said they have uncovered "no evidence to corroborate that any actual threat exists," but the shelter-in-place continued as officials investigated. 

Police lifted the lockdown at around 3:40 p.m. following review of surveillance footage and a "thorough search of the campus turned up no evidence of any actual threat."  The lockdown was lifted just before the end of the normal school day. Investigators do not yet know if the calls were made by the same person. 

The first call at around 1:51 p.m. was from a male caller who said he had seen a teen boy with a rifle strapped to his back and carrying two pipe bombs. A second male caller said he had seen a man in his 20s wearing body armor walking towards the school while carrying a rifle. both callers gave information that led police to believe the calls were hoaxes, but police responded anyway. 

At 1:53 p.m. school administrators received a phone call from a male caller who said he was headed to the school with a bomb. The caller gave a name and date of birth but the information given did not correspond to a real person, police said. 

The shelter-in-place at Fletcher Middle School, at 655 Arastredero Road, was lifted earlier in the afternoon. 

Meanwhile, in the East Bay, Miramonte High School was locked down at around 2:30 p.m. School officials there said they received a phone call from an individual who threatened to come to campus and cause harm. 

Orinda police were dispatched to the school at around 2:17 p.m. on a report that an armed person was on campus. Officials said students and staff were safe. 

Officials with the school, part of the Acalanes High School District, said, "do not come to campus at this time." In addition, they said students would be dismissed once Orinda police gave the all clear. 

Officers from Lafayette, Moraga and the East Bay Regional Park District, as well as sheriff's deputies all responded to the situation. 

Police said the investigation is ongoing and that their detectives are in contact with Palo Alto police since they are investigating a similar call.