Springfield police charge 12-year-old girl in Catholic Central shooting hoax

False report this week not related to last month’s, police said

Credit: Bill Lackey

Credit: Bill Lackey

A 12-year-old student has been charged in connection with Tuesday’s hoax call of an active shooter at Catholic Central School, according to the Springfield Police Division.

Police arrested the girl on a charge of inducing panic, according to a city statement.

Catholic Central President Mike Raiff issued a statement to parents in regard to the hoax call that shut down the school for the day earlier this week.

“While this investigation is in the hands of the local authorities, an individual has come forward and admitted to making the 911 call,” he said.

Investigators believe she placed the call in which a false report of an active shooter at the school was issued.

Following the girl’s arrest, she was placed in the Clark County Juvenile Detention Center, according to the city.

Raiff said that in regard to “handling the situation at a local level,” school leaders will follow the Catholic Central handbook.

“Although I am thankful that this had a quick resolution, I am truly saddened by the choice this young person made, as well as the torment and concern the entire community was put through with these actions over the last 24 hours,” Raiff said.

The Springfield Police Division responded to the school Tuesday after receiving a call just before 10 a.m. about a possible shooter at the school.

“Help, help, there’s an active shooter at Catholic Central, help,” the caller told dispatchers before ending the call after being asked what their name was.

Following the call, the school was put on lockdown as Springfield police conducted a search of the building. School closed for the day, and the reunification process for parents and students took place at St. Bernard’s Church.

Police determined that no actual threat existed, no one had been injured and that the report had been a hoax.

Tuesday’s lockdown came a month after the school was on lockdown following the Sept. 23 false report of an active shooter being at Catholic Central.

Capt. Michael Kranz said during a press conference on Tuesday afternoon that investigators did not believe the call made Tuesday was connected to the September call.

Other Ohio schools, including Belmont High School in Dayton, Princeton High School in suburban Cincinnati and Licking Valley Local Schools in Newark, saw similar false calls that September day.

NPR has found local reports indicating 182 schools in 28 states received false calls about threats between Sept. 13 and Oct. 21. These have prompted a response known as “swatting.”

Swatting is a form of weaponizing fear and involves making a claim that draws first responders and law enforcement to the location of the said incident, straining their resources. It sparks concern throughout communities, especially those that have previously endured actual active shooter and mass casualty incidents.

Catholic Central is home to more than 400 students in kindergarten through the 12th grade.

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