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‘Hoax’ shooting calls at multiple schools in Tampa Bay, across Florida, police say

Schools in Pinellas, Broward, Sarasota and Miami-Dade counties all received false threats Tuesday.
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Check tampabay.com for the latest breaking news and updates. [ Photo illustration by ASHLEY DYE and LUIS SANTANA | Times ]
Published Oct. 11, 2022|Updated Oct. 11, 2022

Two Pinellas County high schools are among more than a dozen across Florida where police investigated reports of active shooters that ultimately turned out to be false Tuesday, according to authorities.

Shortly after noon Tuesday, officers responded to calls reporting active shooters at St. Petersburg Catholic High School and Pinellas Park High School, according to news releases from St. Petersburg and Pinellas Park police departments. However, neither agency found any signs of an active shooter.

St. Petersburg police spokesperson Yolanda Fernandez described the call as a “hoax,” but said there is misinformation on social media causing confusion and concern among parents. Parents trying to pick up their kids should go to Tyrone Square Mall, St. Petersburg police said.

No one was injured at either school, police said. Investigations are ongoing.

A Facebook post from the Collier County Sheriff’s Office said there have been at least 16 “hoax or swatting calls” made to schools in Florida Tuesday. . Calls were reported in counties across the state, including Pinellas, Sarasota, Collier, Orange, Palm Beach, Miami-Dade and Broward, according to social media posts from area law enforcement agencies and school districts.

Fernandez said detectives are working to determine the source of the call regarding St. Petersburg Catholic High School and if the similar situations across Florida on Tuesday are related.

Sarasota police tweeted about a call they investigated, saying they believe it was a “swatting” call, which is meant to generate a large emergency response to a false threat.

The Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office and Pasco County Sheriff’s Office both said they have not been called out to investigate calls at schools in their counties Tuesday, but they are aware of the calls in other Florida counties and continue to monitor the situation.

This is a developing story. Stay with tampabay.com for updates.