Hanford High locked down for half hour because of possible threat

Tri-City HeraldDecember 2, 2013 

— Hanford High School was locked down for 30 minutes Monday morning after administrators were notified of a vague threat of a possible shooting seen online.

Students were kept in classrooms from 10 to 10:30 a.m. with doors locked and blinds drawn as district staff and Richland police secured the school, said Steve Aagaard, spokesman for the Richland School District.

There is no evidence of an active threat at the school, but measures such as the lockdown were taken to protect students and staff, officials said.

“It’s just one of those anonymous threats you have to address,” Aagaard said.

Someone notified staff at the school of seeing something posted in the online anonymous chatroom Omegle, said Richland Police Capt. Mike Cobb. The person making the comment reportedly said they attended Hanford High and were going to take a semiautomatic pistol in an effort to kill as many people as possible.

“It’s a pretty serious threat,” Cobb said.

However, it was unclear whether the threat was aimed at the Richland school or another with the same name in California.

The district notified officials at the California school, located in a small town south of Fresno. That school’s Facebook page notified parents that officials instituted a lockdown to secure the building.

Washington State University, whose Tri-Cities campus is located next to Hanford High, also notified its staff and students of the threat but kept its campus open.

Richland police are investigating. Cobb considered the lockdown a successful operation, not because a threat was averted but because school officials, police and others quickly put often-rehearsed safety measures into place, he said.

Students who may have information about the incident are encouraged to speak with school administrators.

Ty Beaver: 582-1402; tbeaver@tricityherald.com; Twitter: @_tybeaver; Google+: +TyBeaverTCHerald

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