Bay Area/ Oakland/ Crime & Emergencies
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Published on April 18, 2024
Hoax at Encinal High School in Alameda Provokes Large Police Response, No Threat FoundSource: Google Street View

Panic swept through Encinal Jr. & Sr. High School yesterday as the Alameda Police Department responded to what turned out to be a hoax, causing fear and disruption among students and staff. At the center of the chaos was a "swatting incident," where an unknown individual falsely reported a hostage situation at the school purportedly involving firearms. A call claimed two students had an AR-15 rifle, setting off a large police response just before 1 pm, according to information provided by the Alameda Police Department.

Officers descended on the school quickly but did not find the alleged gunmen described over the phone. Engaging with school administration, police placed the entire campus on lockdown while Ruby Bridges and Paden Elementary Schools were told to shelter in place. "APD conducted a thorough search of the entire campus," the Alameda Police Department stated in their report of the events. By the mid-afternoon, it was clear that the threat was non-existent and normal activities could resume.

The investigation into the distressing call is ongoing. APD's preliminary findings suggest it was a swatting attempt designed to draw a massive law enforcement presence to Encinal High. The motives behind such calls range from spite to distraction to a perverse form of entertainment for a caller seeking to observe the resulting turmoil from afar. Swatting incidents place considerable stress on community resources and, more gravely, have the potential to trigger tragic outcomes.

The Alameda Police stressed the seriousness of this event, reassuring parents and residents that the safety of students and faculty remains a paramount concern. "The safety and security of our students, faculty and staff remain our top priority," the police department stated after the incident unfolded. Students were eventually released from school later in the day. Gratitude was also expressed to the Alameda Unified School District staff for their cooperation during the frightening ordeal.