State Police believe reported threats at multiple local high schools are hoaxes

State Police believe reported threats at multiple local high schools are hoaxes

Parents wait outside Sanford High School Tuesday morning after several Maine schools received threats of active shooters. Police say all the threats are believed to be hoaxes. Gregory Rec/Staff photographer

Police came out in force to Sanford High School, Portland High School and Gardiner Area High School on Tuesday as multiple schools in Maine responded to reports of active school shootings.

Maine State Police confirmed that multiple active shooter threats were reported at schools throughout the state. Those reports are believed to be a hoax, said spokesperson Shannon Moss.

The Sanford School Department sent a message to parents Tuesday morning saying the active shooter threat is not believed to be credible.

The dispatch center received a phone call at 8:20 a.m. about an active shooter situation at Sanford High School and the Sanford Regional Technical Center. The caller reported there was an active shooter dressed in a black coat and black pants with a long rifle on the first floor of the high school, according to city officials.

The Sanford Strategic Response Team was sent to the high school. No injuries have been reported and none are anticipated, the city said in a statement.

There were no calls from students or teachers inside the building reporting any injuries or shootings, according to city officials. The call reporting the active shooter came from an untraceable VOIP phone number, Sanford officials said.

Students were still being evacuated from the building at 10 a.m. They are being taken by bus to Memorial Gym in Sanford to be reunited with their parents.

Sanford officials are expected to provide additional updates to the media later Tuesday.

In a Facebook group for city residents, parents posted they were hearing from their children that the school was on lockdown.

Dispatchers and officers communicating via scanner were calling for backup from other communities and arranging for buses to come to the school stadium. They said they were clearing hallways and one classroom at a time.

The scene outside Portland High School, one of several schools that received threats of active shootings. Police say all the threats are believed to be hoaxes. Brianna Soukup/Staff photographer

Police also headed to Portland High School Tuesday morning after a 911 call reported there was an active shooter there. Staff reported there was no shooting. The school was on lockdown while police cleared the building.

Portland police said a call reporting a shooter came in at 8:31 a.m. on an administrative line. The first officers on the scene found no indication of any problems and more than 20 officers were conducting a precautionary search, police said in a tweet.

In the Augusta area, Gardiner Area High School was in lockdown this morning, according to the district’s school board chair, Becky Fles, who acknowledged that the high school was one of the schools across the state that received the threat.

“We are working with several law enforcement agencies following the safety protocols that are in place,” she told the Kennebec Journal Tuesday morning.

According to one student on the unofficial Gardiner-area Facebook page, she, along with her classmates at Gardiner Area High School are “barricading the door” and “have no idea what’s happening.” The student, Elise Clockedile, said there was “lots of police presence.”

Gardiner police could not be immediately reached Tuesday morning. Officials at the Augusta Police Department said they were unaware of any threats to the school.

The Maine Information Analysis Center is heavily involved in coordinating the investigations, Moss said.

This story will be updated. 

Kennebec Journal Staff Writer Emily Duggan contributed to this report.

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