Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Police: 7-year-old made hoax call about Belleair Elementary shooter

Clearwater police officers gather at the bus circle after Belleair Elementary was locked down for more than an hour Tuesday because of a report of shots fired. A student has confessed to the hoax, police say.

JIM DAMASKE | Times

Clearwater police officers gather at the bus circle after Belleair Elementary was locked down for more than an hour Tuesday because of a report of shots fired. A student has confessed to the hoax, police say.

CLEARWATER — The hoax call to 911 about shots fired at Belleair Elementary School on Tuesday, which spawned a massive police response and panic among parents, was made, police said today, by a first-grader at the school.

And it wasn't the first hoax call the 7-year-old boy had made: He confessed to nine calls, according to Clearwater police.

On Wednesday, the boy called 911 again to report a dead person in a roadway. Police also responded to that call before determining that it was a hoax, but most of the other calls the child made were "non-descript" and didn't generate a police response, according to Clearwater public safety spokeswoman Elizabeth Watts.

It was unclear how the child obtained a cellphone. Watts said all the hoax calls were made with the same phone.

Clearwater detectives were able to track the calls back to the 7-year-old, whose name is not being released. Watts said the boy made the shooting hoax call from Belleair Elementary.

The Clearwater Police Department has referred charges of misuse of 911 to the Pinellas-Pasco State Attorney's Office, which will decide whether to pursue the charges.

The boy was released to a parent, Watts said.

On Tuesday at 2:53 p.m., 911 received a call from a cellphone stating that shots had been fired at Belleair Elementary on Lake­view Road in Clearwater.

The school went into lockdown, school buses loaded with students were held, and heavily armed police surrounded the school.

As a crowd of anxious parents gathered, police conducted a room-by-room search of the school before determining more than an hour later that the call was a hoax and there was no shooter.

Watts said she did not have an estimate of the cost to the department of taking time to respond to the hoaxes.

Peter Jamison can be reached at (727) 445-4157 or pjamison@tampabay.com.

Police: 7-year-old made hoax call about Belleair Elementary shooter 02/28/13 [Last modified: Thursday, February 28, 2013 10:55pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Hillsborough Democrats call Confederate monument vote a continuation of white supremacy

    Blogs

    TAMPA — Two days after Hillsborough County commissioners decided not to touch a Confederate monument in downtown Tampa, Hillsborough County Democrats have decided to weigh in.

    On Friday afternoon, Hillsborough County Democrats decried a vote by the county commission not to remove the Confederate monument in downtown Tampa.
  2. For starters: Ramus to DL, Peterson back, no further moves

    Blogs

    We were expecting a flurry of roster moves this afternoon and we got one. OF Colby Ramus is on the 10-day disabled list retroactive to June 19 with left hip tendinitis.

    Colby Ramus is on the 10-day disabled list retroactive to June 19 with left hip tendinitis.
  3. Editorial: Failure to invest in transit means fewer HART routes

    Editorials

    It was simple economics that forced HART, Hillsborough County's mass transit agency, to cut its bus routes. The agency will focus its resources on the more crowded urban core, limiting service in the suburbs in an effort to get more bang for the buck. These are the hard choices communities must make when they refuse to …

    Hillsborough Area Regional Transit is cutting bus routes from 41 to 34. Those in more rural areas will find it harder to catch a bus.
  4. Editorial: Senate bill sacrifices health care for tax cuts

    Editorials

    No wonder Senate Republicans drafted their health care legislation in secret. Beneath the surface, it looks no better than the House version that even President Donald Trump has called mean. This remains a massive tax cut for the wealthy at the expense of the poor, the middle class and the elderly, and it would cost …

    No wonder Senate Republicans, led by Mitch McConnell, above, drafted their health care legislation in secret. Beneath the surface, it looks no better than the House version that even President Donald Trump has called mean.
  5. UberEATS expands to more cities within Tampa Bay

    Business

    TAMPA — UberEATS is expanding its service area in Tampa Bay. Starting today, users in Gibsonton, Odessa, New Port Richey, Riverview and Tarpon Springs can have food dropped off at their location.

    UberEATS is expanding its service area in Tampa Bay. [Courtesy of UberEATS]