Hoax Led to School Lockdown: Officials

Students told teachers they were scared by a woman with a long gun but it turned out to be a lie

Philadelphia police tracked down the mystery woman who allegedly prompted a school lockdown in the Feltonville section of the city this morning.

And, the kids that accused her of threatening them with a "long gun" while they were on their way to school now could be the ones in trouble.

Students at the Feltonville School of Arts and Sciences and Barton Elementary were locked down Thursday morning as police searched a nearby house after a group of students reported being threatened on their way to school.

"They were playing with a dog in the backyard and they allege that a female from the house pointed a long weapon at them," Chief Inspector Joe Sullivan told NBC10's Lu Ann Cahn.

Those four students came to Feltonville School of Arts and Science on Courtland Street, alerting teachers about the woman in the neighborhood.

School administrators called police.

Two buildings at the campus were put on lockdown, as a precaution, while police investigated with the help of a SWAT team, fire and rescue crews. They went to a nearby home in the 4600 block of Ella because they thought the woman was barricaded in her home.

"At one point, they received information that there might be children inside that house and based on that we inserted a robot into the house. The robot has the ability to articulate stairways, and turn, and we cleared the house visually from the outside, utilizing the robot," Sullivan said.

After that, police re-opened roads that had been shut in the immediate area and they cleared the school buildings. Sullivan said there was no threat to students and no danger to the neighborhood.

Investigators questioned the woman who lived nearby, but police say the children -- ages 10 through 13 -- apparently made up the story. District spokesman Fernando Gallard says the school will investigate and that they could face disciplinary action.

The lockdown ended around noon.

The Feltonville School of Arts and Science is for students in grades 6, 7 and 8.

It is housed in a community along with The Barton School for Kindergarten, first and second graders and the Feltonville Intermediate School for 4, 5, and 6th graders.

Contact Us