No active shooter found at Tennessee high school, sheriff says

HAWKINS COUNTY, Tenn. — Students at a Tennessee high school were evacuated Tuesday on the second day of classes for the year and bused to a local armory after a 911 caller claimed to be a gunman in the building, which authorities later said they believe was a “hoax.”

The Hawkins County School District in East Tennessee went into lockdown Tuesday morning after an active shooter was reported at Volunteer High School.

According to the Hawkins County Sheriff Office, they received a call just before 8 a.m. stating an active shooter was inside VHS.

Deputies responded and began searching the school.

No suspect was located and no shooting injuries were reported, the sheriff’s office said.

Students were evacuated and taken to the National Guard Armory facility located at 399 US-11W in Mount Carmel, the sheriff’s office said.

Out of an abundance of caution, all schools from Surgoinsville to East Hawkins County were placed on lockdown, according to a post from the district. That lockdown was later lifted.

Residents were told to stay clear of the area to allow law enforcement and emergency personnel to access the area, officials said.

Parents were told to go to the Mount Carmel National Guard Armory for reunification with their student, and should not go to VHS.

Parents were told to stay inside their vehicles and wait for their child to be brought to them, officials said.

Staff assisted parents and students in the reunification process.

The county’s director of schools, Matt Hixson, said the search would likely continue through the end of the school day, but he expects classes to resume Wednesday morning.

Local authorities, along with the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation, are now looking into who made the call. Church Hill Police Chief Chad Mosley said the caller didn’t give his name and it hasn’t been determined if the call was made inside or outside of the school.

“Right here, we’re telling you straight up, this was a hoax,” Hawkins County Sheriff Ronnie Lawson said at a news conference, alongside the police chief. “There was no gunfire. Nobody injured. Thank god everybody is safe.”

Lawson said the 911 caller claimed to be in a school bathroom with a handgun, saying he had been bullied by popular students and was going to the gym to shoot the weapon. Lawson said one police officer was in the high school while the person was still on the phone with the 911 dispatcher.

Chris Vaughan of the Church Hill Rescue Squad said two people were transported from the scene for injuries unrelated to gunshots.

According to the sheriff, in a “totally unrelated” occurrence a student was sick and having a seizure while the 911 call was occurring.

AP contributed to this story.