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Lockdown ends after phone threat to ‘shoot up’ Palo Alto High School deemed a hoax

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A phone threat that caused a lockdown at Palo Alto High School (Paly) was a hoax, according to a press statement released by the Palo Alto police.

Around noon today, Palo Alto police received two 9-1-1 calls from a male caller who identified himself by full name and threatened to “shoot up” Palo Alto High School in 15 minutes.

Palo Alto police, joined by officers from the Stanford Department of Public Safety, the Menlo Park Police Department and the Mountain View Police Department, “immediately flooded the school” and the nearby vicinity as the violent threat was investigated, according to the press statement. No violence and physical injuries occurred.

The name given to the police by the suspect belonged to a current Palo Alto High School student. Police confirmed that the student had no connection to the incident.

Investigators later determined that the call was placed from a phone that was either lost or stolen from the Town & Country Shopping Center directly across from the school. The owner of the phone deactivated the device shortly after discovering it was missing. As a result, police were unable to contact the suspect because the phone was unable to receive incoming calls, but the suspect was still able to call 9-1-1 due to safety features on the device.

The lockdown was lifted later in the afternoon, though police remained at the high school for the rest of the school day to continue their investigation and to reassure students and “ensure everyone’s safety.”

Police and detectives are currently collaborating with school administration officials to identify and arrest the suspect.

The threat at Palo Alto High School follows a series of similar threats at Bay Area schools since the Feb. 14 mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida that took the lives of 17 students and faculty members.

Cupertino High School was evacuated Tuesday following receipt of a threatening phone call. Last week, police were present at San Mateo High School after a man who said he wanted to “shoot up a school” attempted to purchase a gun from a sporting goods store.

This post was updated on March 30 at 12:30 a.m.

Contact The Stanford Daily News Staff at news ‘at’ stanforddaily.com.