Pittsburgh Reporter Interviews Daughter On-Air After Catholic School Shooting Hoax: ‘We Weren’t Allowed to Make a Noise’ (Video)
Chaos erupted at Pittsburgh-area high school Oakland Catholic on Wednesday when a series of hoax calls indicating an active shooter on the campus were made, sending them and surrounding facilities into lockdown.
Just days after the fatal school shooting in Nashville, WTAE Pittsburgh Action News 4 reporter Marcie Cipirani connected with her daughter and Oakland Catholic student, Eve, outside the school to get an account of how they responded to their own threat behind closed doors.
Eve was in physics class doing her homework when the lockdown was enacted. She said that students “weren’t allowed to make a noise” – even through tears – and that they were advised to fight back with chemicals and metal rods found in the classroom.
“Our secretary’s voice came over the announcements and told us, ‘Go into lockdown,’ and you could tell by her voice that it was real,” Eve recalled Wednesday. “My teacher took control of the situation and we went and hid in between the tables.”
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Ambulances, firetrucks and police arrived at the scene while the students awaited updates on the situation. The false alarm targeted other Pennsylvanian high schools as well, including Central Catholic, and misinformation quickly spread on social media platforms like Twitter, causing confusion amongst students.
“People were on their phones texting their parents and checking Twitter updates that were false. So that’s why I called you because I wanted to figure out what was going on,” Eve told her mother.
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Marcie Cirpiani added that her daughter had to whisper on the phone during their call.
“We weren’t allowed to make a noise … There were people who were crying and they can’t make a sound as they’re crying,” Eve said. “I was the only person allowed to call because [my teacher] knew if I called you, we would know what was actually happening.”
The teacher reportedly also instructed his students to use metal rods in the closet or the acid from their classroom to fight back should an active shooter come in. The door to the back of the classroom couldn’t lock, so the teachers fashioned a makeshift barricade out of chairs to block the door.
The threatening calls came into the high schools around 10 a.m. local time, with police responding to Oakland Catholic and Central Catholic around 10:18 a.m. The hoax was determined to likely be so-called “swatting calls” generated by a computer to engage law enforcement under false pretenses.
Pittsburgh Public Schools remained on a “modified lockdown” the rest of the day “out of an abundance of caution,” representatives said in a statement. “Modified lockdown means only existing appointments or meetings will be honored.”
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