School threats in Connecticut on Friday morning prompted law enforcement after educators received phone calls from someone threatening violence with guns or pipe bombs. Police in the town of Fairfield went into high alert around 9 a.m. when a man called them, claiming he was at a home and had killed his girlfriend, was holding a hostage, and was in possession of guns and pipe bombs, according to New York Daily News.
At least three of the town’s 17 public schools received phone calls from the same person. All the public schools were placed in lockdown for around two hours, and some private and Connecticut schools went into some level of secure mode as well.
Officers responded, shut the street down, checked all the houses and determined there was no such address given by the man. Then, Fairfield schools started receiving gun and bomb threat phone calls.
“(W)e don’t know if the Black Rock Turnpike thing is used as a diversion, or whether it was just in fact part of the plan.” Lt. James Perez, of Fairfield Police, said. “But I will tell you that we, as law enforcement officers, take all of these calls extremely seriously because we have to.”
The call to Holland Hill Elementary School said a man was coming down with an M-16. Roger Ludlowe High School received a threat about a bomb in the school. Fairfield Warde High School received a call reporting pipe bombs scattered throughout the school.
One or two additional schools might have received threats as well, police said.
“All 17 schools, right now, in Fairfield, are on lockdown. We’re calling in officers from surrounding areas to help us, not only lock down the schools, but so that we can search every school and dismiss or confirm the threats coming in,” Lt. James Perez, of the Fairfield Police Department, said on Friday morning.
As they faced the challenge of sweeping 17 schools to ensure the safety of everyone inside, local police received assistance from officers from Westport, Trumbull, Newtown, Easton and Bridgeport as the responded and searched each school Friday morning.
On Friday morning, Gov. Dannel Malloy said he has been in contact with authorities in Fairfield, his office was monitoring the situation and state resources from several agencies were on standby if they are requested or needed.
Throughout the morning, police reiterated the request that parents stay at home, and warned they would be turned away if they show up at the schools.
“The kids are locked down and safe right now,” Perez said. “There are police officers at every school, and we have our emergency operation center opened up at police headquarters, where we are coordinating our efforts with the fire department, various police departments and other agencies that can help up actually adjudicate or go through all these scenarios.”
By late morning, school officials decided to release students from the public schools on an early dismissal schedule, beginning at 11:45 a.m.
Despite police asking parents not to rush to campuses, some students walked out of school to find their parents there, waiting for them.
In interviews outside, some of the students said they had no idea what was going on at first and saw teacher’s expressions change to concern when alerts started coming in.
Others said they were anxious and scared, but calmed as the morning went on. As Connecticut police continue to investigate, they are asking anyone with information about any of the calls to reach out to police and call 203-254-4840.