Copperas Cove: Lockdown rumors reach ‘level of ridiculousness, police chief says

Parents, alarmed by social media reports of what the district says is an unsubstantiated threat, rushed to the school, forming a long line of vehicles. (Photo by Brandon Hamilton)

COPPERAS COVE, Texas (KWTX) Rumors swirling around a lockdown ordered Monday at Copperas Cove High School after a 16-year-old student initially believed to have a gun was caught with a six-inch survival knife “have risen to the level of ridiculousness,” Cove police Chief Eddie Wilson said in a lengthy Facebook post Tuesday.

“Currently, there are countless rumors ranging from two students with a gun, three students with a gun, an active shooter, hostages taken, students taken away by ambulance, and how the CCISD and PD have formulated a plan to cover up a shooting,” he wrote.

“There was no evidence of anyone firing a gun and to this point, we have produced no students or teachers identifying themselves as a witness to such events. I ask that any parent whose child might be a direct witness to a shooting be brought to our detectives as soon as possible so we can follow up on their information,” he wrote.

The school was placed on lockdown and police were notified at around 11:40 a.m. Monday after a third-party report that a student at the school had a gun.

The boy was ultimately found in a classroom not with a firearm, but instead the knife.

He was taken into custody.

“The student did not threaten any other students,” the district said.

"At no time during the incidents were any threats made to students or staff," police said.

The district, in a Facebook post Monday, had asked parents to stay away.

“Please allow the officers to do their job and do not come to the campus,” the post said.

But parents did drive to the school and in large numbers.

A long line of vehicles was parked near the school.

The entrance to the school's parking lot was blocked off Monday afternoon, but at around 1:30 p.m., parents were allowed to pick up their children.

Wilson, in the post, defended the way the situation was handled, saying “the utmost priority is the safety of our children and nothing else.”

“Parents must understand that notification is not at the top of the list especially when we’re still unsure of the situation ourselves. Calling the school and our dispatch center in the middle of a crisis is only taking valuable resources away from helping us get the answers you’re seeking,” he wrote.

“Failing to keep the school locked down would have brought a mass number of parents to the campus and placed the entire population of students at risk. By being allowed to move freely around and allowing more people to enter the campus without us knowing if a possible threat still existed would have made things more confusing and less safe,” he wrote.

“We try to learn from every situation to help us provide the best and safest response to future incidents. So far, we’ve identified some factors from yesterday’s incident that we hope to correct, but overall, I’m proud of how our dispatchers and officers responded and managed this incident. I also appreciate the school's response and am proud of the partnership we have developed over the years,” he wrote.