JACKSON COUNTY, Ga. — Jackson County deputies said a 16-year-old girl is behind a hoax that sent students running for safety.
The incident sent deputies rushing in to Jackson County Comprehensive High School Wednesday morning, expecting an active shooter.
“I don’t know if we will ever know why,” Jackson County Sheriff Janis Mangum told Channel 2’s Tony Thomas.
Investigators tracked down the girl who allegedly called 911.
The call came in a few minutes before 8 a.m.
“I heard someone said there is a gun and I just freaked out,” student Jada Fortenberry said.
“Kids were running from the building,” mother Kimberly Master told Thomas.
Master has two daughters who go to the high school. They were in different parts of the building when they were told to run.
“I jumped up from the art room and I just tried to get to her,” Shianne Master said.
The sisters were reunited later on the football field.
“I stood in the middle and I called for her,” Shianne Master said.
As students rushed out, authorities went in, including Mangum.
“When you get a call of an active shooter, you got automatic chaos. Your heart’s racing, my heart was racing,” Mangum said.
Jackson High was evacuated and all other schools in the district and county were put on lockdown as authorities searched each building.
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The sheriff said investigators were able to track down the cellphone the teenager used. She was turned over to her parents.
The teen faces charges of disrupting operations of a public school, transmitting a false public alarm, unlawful conduct during a 911 call and the false report of a crime.
Mangum told Thomas the teen may also have to pay restitution over the incident.
Parents who lined up to take their children home early from school were relieved, but still stressed about what could have been.
“We are just going to take them home and let them rest. Pretty scary stuff,” Kimberly Master said.
Authorities say the actual call to 911 came in not from Jackson High, but from East Jackson High School.
Several agencies plan to meet next week to evaluate how they handled all this and what can be improved upon.
After the high school was given the all clear, classes resumed at Jackson High. Quite a few students simply went home early, too shaken to continue, they said.
Cox Media Group