APS lockdown lifted, likely linked to swatting hoaxes across the state

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(ABC 6 News) – Following a law enforcement response at Rochester Lourdes High School Sept. 21, ABC 6 News confirmed that multiple schools in our coverage area received what seem to be false calls about active shooters.

RELATED: RPD: No active shooter, no threat at Lourdes High School

Austin Public Schools was also locked down between 11:20 a.m. and 12:22 p.m. while local law enforcement investigated the calls.

RELATED: Multiple Minnesota schools receive false active shooter calls

Officers were at the school within 5 minutes.

“We looked outside and there were cop cars outside and there was more coming out and it was like what’s going on? So, I messaged my mom first because she had previously messaged me about the stuff that was going on in Rochester,” Sophmore Kylan Tovar-Johnson said.

Austin police chief David McKichan said APD was aware of similar calls in the SE MN area, but “it did not alter (their) response to this type of call.”

“It is unfortunate that during a week dedicated to homecoming festivities in Austin that this occurred,” McKichan said. “We do believe this may be linked to other similar incidents in our state today and that our caller was likely not from our community. We will dedicate additional resources towards school safety throughout the day and the remainder of the week.”

There was no evidence of an active shooter, and no injuries were reported. After the lockdown was lifted, parents swarmed to come pick their kids up from school.

“As a mother, I panicked I jumped in my car and I drove straight to the school in hopes that it was going to be a prank,” Kylan’s mother Kaylene Tovar-Johnson said.

“The school staff and students absolutely did a fantastic job following their policies. We were able to get into the school. Nothing impeded our ability to search. Places that should’ve been locked were locked,” McKichan said.

“You know you’re going through all of this trauma and all of this being nervous and what’s gonna happen for like no reason at all because someone just wants to think it’s funny or have fun or thinks it’s a joke,” Tovar-Johnson said.

To make matters even worse, Austin is in the middle of their homecoming week, and several events now will have to be postponed or even cancelled because of this phone call.