UPDATE: Police accidentally fire weapon during active shooter hoax at St. John’s Prep

Police have determined that a report of an active shooter at St. John’s Prep in Danvers on Monday was a so-called swatting hoax. A responding police officer, searching Benjamin Hall on campus, accidentally discharged his weapon. That shot escalated concerns on scene. No one was in the room with the officer and no one was hurt.

The hoax put the school in lockdown and prompted an evacuation of students while Danvers and State Police searched the campus building-by-building for a possible shooter.

“Threat of a shooter has been confirmed to be a hoax,” reported the State Police on Twitter. “All search teams secure from the school. Investigation ongoing to determine the source of the hoax threat.”

There has been a series of swatting incidents — when someone calls in a fake report of an active shooter — at Massachusetts schools recently.

Several Marblehead residents attend St. John’s Prep. Marblehead Police joined other local law enforcement agencies responding to the scene.

Earlier in the afternoon, St. John’s posted this message on its website: “There has been a report of an active shooter on campus at Benjamin Hall. Students, faculty and staff are sheltering in place.”

A little later, State Police provided an update on Twitter. “Teams still conducting sweeps, still no threats detected. Students who fled school grounds on their own are being directed/shuttled to Stop and Shop, 301 Newbury St (Rt 1) Danvers. Parents can report there to be reunited with their children.”

Marblehead Schools Superintendent John Buckey tells the Marblehead Current that as soon as he received a text about the St. John’s situation he “immediately directed our leaders to put our buildings into a state of high alert.

“It is deeply troubling that anyone would cause this sort of disruption and chaos to students, staff, families and communities. Our schools deserve better.”

In an email to parents, Buckey added, “Given the closeness of our communities and the number of Marblehead students who attend SJP, our building leaders will be reaching out to their staff and families soon to share information and resources in light of any impact today’s incident might have on some of our students.”

St. John’s Prep posted this message to its website Monday, May 22.

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Leigh Blander is an experienced TV, radio and print journalist who has written hundreds of stories for local newspapers, including the Marblehead Reporter. She also works as a PR specialist.

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