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False report of active shooter causes chaos at Santa Cruz High

Jonathan Linden
90.3 KAZU
Santa Cruz High School parents gather at Depot Park on Oct. 27, 2022, to pick up their children following a report of an active shooter on campus. It was later revealed that the report was a hoax.

Students and faculty at Santa Cruz High School are safe after police responded to a false report of an active shooter.

The Santa Cruz Police Department says a call came in just after 9:30 a.m. reporting several shots fired with multiple victims. Hundreds of law enforcement officers responded, and the high school immediately went into lockdown.

In response to the incident, parents were told to go to Depot Park in Santa Cruz to pick up their children.

"This is hard. To go through a prank of this nature...creates trauma for all these students," said Rishi Lal, the safety and wellness coordinator for Santa Cruz city school district. Lai coordinated the student pick up.

Natalia Espinosa is a Santa Cruz high school student and was reunited with her mother at the park.

"I thought it was just like a regular drill, but then it started to become a lot more like real," she said.

When it was confirmed that the report was a hoax, parent Christopher Cutts felt a massive wave of relief when he found out his son and other students were safe.

"I'm just grateful that he's fine and grateful that this is all worked out fine," he said.

During a press conference Thursday morning, Santa Cruz City Schools Superintendent Kris Munro said reports of false active shooter calls aren't just happening in Santa Cruz.

"We were notified a couple weeks ago of a trend across the nation for people to call in false active shooter events," Munro said.

Munro said that school will be back in session Friday.

Jonathan Linden is a reporter at 90.3 KAZU in Marina, California. He joined KAZU in October 2022 and had previously reported for fellow NPR-affiliate KVCR in San Bernardino, California.