HUNTSVILLE, Ala. - A so-called prank led to a parent's worst nightmare Wednesday in Huntsville. Officers say a juvenile reported an active shooter at Williams P-8 around noon.
Whomever is responsible for all this could face disciplinary action from both Huntsville City Schools and the criminal justice system.
"It’s not just a slap on the wrist from a first responder standpoint," says Lt. Stacy Bates of the Huntsville Police Department.
It may have been intended as a prank, but law enforcement isn't laughing, not even close.
“We will prosecute them to the fullest extent of the law," says Bates. “We will use the cameras in the school system, use whatever means they have necessary to determine who did this.”
Bates says HPD is confident the prank 911 call came from inside the school, likely from a student.
“It came from a landline within the school. It was a juvenile voice we heard on the line, so we know it was a juvenile," he says.
Bates says, all charges - all punishments are on the table.
"At a minimum, you’ve got rendering a false alarm, depending on what it entails it can be a misdemeanor, it can be a felony. We’re going to go with the strictest charges we can find and as many as we can find in a situation like this," says Bates.
Punishments could follow the student back in to the classroom.
HCS spokesman Keith Ward says the district will follow the Behavioral Learning Guide when it comes to what steps they would take.
It all depends on the age of the assailant.
If the student is in elementary school, their most severe penance would be out of school suspension.
If the student was in grades 7 or 8, they would fall under the Secondary School matrix, which means they could receive anything from out of school suspension, extended suspension or even expulsion.
A sixth grader would be in a unique position. According to School Board President Elisa Ferrell, they fall between the two matrices, so it would be up to the Principal or district leaders to determine the proper recourse.
“It’s a very labor intensive thing when we do something like this," says Bates.
The HPD spokesman says he hopes the punishment fits the crime.
He told reporters Wednesday afternoon, this episode could have cost first responders thousands of dollars in man-hours and in equipment usage, but more importantly, it could have cost lives.
"You’re pulling resources from areas that God forbid another emergency should happen that could cause somebody else to lose their life that had nothing to do with this," says Bates.
Because the 911 caller is probably a child, it's unlikely their name will ever be announced publicly.
However, HPD assures us, they plan on seeing this through until they find out who was responsible.