Active shooter hoax across Texas universities now under federal investigation

Multiple schools in the U.S. were threatened by a false shooter call, which is now being investigated by the federal government. Kenneth Prabhakar | Photo Editor

By Luke Lattanzi | Staff Writer

The active shooter hoax that affected the Baylor community Thursday is now under federal investigation, according to Baylor spokesperson Lori Fogleman. The identity of the person who made the 911 call is currently unknown.

On Thursday, the Baylor community was sent a Baylor News Flash message alerting there was no active threat on the university’s campus.

The Lariat attempted to reach out to Waco Police Department for more information, but they declined to comment.

Other schools across Texas, such as Tyler Junior College in Tyler, Texas A&M in College Station, Texas Wesleyan University in Fort Worth and Collin College in Plano all dealt with similar active shooter hoaxes on Thursday.

Tyler Junior College (TJC) freshman Kristen Davenport said she was in her social work class when she and her classmates received phone and text message alerts from the school’s emergency alert system stating there was an active shooter on campus at approximately 11 a.m.

“[It was] just a regular Thursday morning,” Davenport said. “My class starts at 10:10 and I’m usually there until 10:30. As 11 a.m. hit right on the dot almost, and all of our peers in the class … we all got texts and phone calls, and it was all from the TJC alert number … automatically you could just feel everyone’s heart drop.”

According to Davenport, the alert stated there was an active shooter in the Pirtle building on the TJC campus, which was where her morning class was.

The statement by TJC said the school went into “immediate action” to lockdown and evacuate all campus buildings. Davenport, however, said she and her classmates felt confused about whether to shelter in place or evacuate immediately.

“They were just figuring out whether we needed to shelter in place or evacuate, and so we ended up sheltering in place for a while and they locked us in a closet,” Davenport said. “We were just really overwhelmed. My professor was calling her kid who goes to TJC, and we were calling our families and calling our friends who were on campus.”

Unlike TJC, Baylor did not order a shelter in place or campus evacuation, as authorities were able to quickly determine that there was no active shooter threat by using the university’s wide array of security cameras on campus.

A transcript of the 911 call alleging a shooting at TJC was released and reported by KETK News.

Part of the transcript reads:

“Tyler Police and Fire, this is Maddy, how can I help you,” a 911 operator said.

“There is an active shooter at Tyler Junior’s west campus,” the caller responded.

The Lariat reached out to the City of Waco in an attempt to obtain the 911 call for the Baylor shooter hoax, but was denied due to the case being under federal investigation.

“Honestly, I just believe that you never know it’s going to happen to you,” Davenport said. “You’re always like, ‘Oh, it happens to all these people,’ but you never really feel in that moment that it’s going to be you at your school. I think everyone was just kind of in shock.”