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False report of firearm leads to lockdown at Lower Mainland high school

Police have classified the incident as a ‘swatting call,’ adding there was no threat to public safety
North Delta’s Burnsview Secondary, as seen in a Google Streetview photo.

Delta police are investigating after someone falsely reported there was a person with a firearm at Burnsview Secondary.

Police say the call came in at 11:55 a.m. and they immediately asked the North Delta school to initiate a “lockdown.”

Witnesses report seeing at least a half-dozen police vehicles and several officers with rifles outside of the school around lunchtime.

Once on scene, officers assessed the situation and determined the report had been false, and the status inside the school was upgrade to a “hold and secure.”

“Ultimately, we’ve determined that there is no threat, there was no threat, and there is no cause for any public safety concern,” Acting Insp. James Sandberg, public affairs manager for the Delta Police Department, told the Reporter.

As of around 1:30 p.m., the hold and secure had been lifted.

Sandberg said he was aware of social media posts claiming there was an active shooter inside the school.

“That’s all not true. There is no shooter and there never was a shooter,” he said.

Sandberg urged the public to avoid spreading unverified information on social media as it can cause unnecessary alarm within the community.

While the term “lockdown” is commonly — but incorrectly — used by many to describe heightened security situations in schools, Burnsview actually being placed in a lockdown, however briefly, likely gave credence to speculation of a shooter inside the building.

According to the school district’s emergency procedures, a “lockdown” is used only when there is an active threat of violence inside a school. In such cases, staff immediately secure their rooms, stop all activities and direct students to hide, keep quiet and not open doors.

“Hold and secure” is used whenever there is a security concern outside of school in the surrounding neighbourhood. Staff bring everyone into the school and keep them there, locking exterior doors and closing the blinds on all windows. No one is allowed to enter or exit the building, but classes and other regular activities continue inside the school.

Police have classified the incident as a “swatting call,” wherein someone makes a false report of a critical incident to elicit an urgent and substantial police response.

“Today’s swatting incident posed no real threat to public safety,” police said in a press release Thursday afternoon.

The DPD has launched an investigation to identify the person responsible for the swatting call. Police note filing a false report is classified as mischief under the Criminal Code.

The release explains that police have a duty to respond and all calls reporting potential threats are taken seriously and treated as genuine until verified otherwise.

“Consequently, a significant police presence is deployed to ensure safety,” the release states.

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James Smith

About the Author: James Smith

James Smith is the founding editor of the North Delta Reporter.
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