A man has been arrested for calling 911 and falsely reporting that shots were fired causing casualties at a Nanaimo school.
Police responded Thursday, Oct. 21, at about 1 p.m., after an individual made a number of calls to 911 saying shots were being fired at a local high school and there were multiple casualties, noted an RCMP press release.
Nanaimo RCMP notified Fairview Elementary School and Nanaimo District Secondary School. NDSS was immediately placed in a lockdown and school liaison officers worked rapidly to ensure staff and students were safe and secured inside the school.
Fairview Elementary was also contacted, but staff there told police that students had been dismissed early because of parent-teacher interviews and there was nothing of concern happening. There were also no emergencies or suspicious activities reported at NDSS.
“When the officers involved were satisfied that it appeared the calls were a hoax, the investigation moved towards identifying who was responsible,” Const. Gary O’Brien, Nanaimo RCMP spokesman, said in the release.
The North Island Operations Communication Centre was able to trace the location from where the phone the calls were made, to whom the phone was registered, and also provided information about associated vehicles. By 2 p.m., officers located the suspect in his vehicle parked along Howard Avenue.
The 34-year-old suspect was arrested for public mischief and breach of pre-existing conditions from prior police files. The cell phone used to make the calls was also found in the vehicle.
With the suspect in custody, the lockdown was lifted and school liaison officers briefed senior management at the schools and updated them on the actions taken to resolve the situation.
The suspect is currently in custody with charges pending.
“This was a disturbing sequence of events…” O’Brien said. “The training of the [communication centre] and their real-time communication with officers in the area allowed for the retrieval of timely information from police databases and for this incident to be resolved safety and efficiently.”