Clovis West hit with three hoax shooting threats in less than a week

Nic Garcia Image
Thursday, February 9, 2023
Clovis West hit with three hoax shooting threats in less than a week
Each of the three threats have been determined to not be credible.

FRESNO COUNTY, Calif. (KFSN) -- Clovis West had to deal with its third threatening phone call in less than a week on Wednesday.

The call came in around 11:30 am, forcing the high school and nearby Fort Washington Elementary to shelter in place.

Instruction was allowed to continue as officers searched the campus, and the order was lifted about 45 minutes later.

"It's full-on panic," said Brandie Carpenter, a parent of a student a Fort Washington Elementary.

Montgomery says getting an alert that the school was on lockdown last Friday was her worst nightmare.

"The faces of those kids coming out on Friday afternoon and seeing some of them crying, that's not something you just forget," Montgomery recalled.

Fort Washington has been put on lockdown three times since Friday due to swatting calls to local law enforcement agencies.

Authorities say the callers threaten a shooting at neighboring Clovis West High School.

Each of those threats has been determined to not be credible.

Still, police are investigating the calls, which they believe are related and connected to a fake threat called into Costco over the weekend.

"If we can identify that individual, and if that person resides outside the United States, we'll still work with the FBI and other agencies to bring that person to justice," said Fresno Police Deputy Chief Mindy Castro.

Fresno police say they believe the phone calls are coming from outside the country.

Meanwhile, the district is working to keep students on track with their schoolwork but says those who do not feel safe going to school because of the fake threats will be excused.

"Every single school day is important, and the disruption that it causes is extremely significant when we have that lockdown moment. I'm proud of our team here and at Fort Washington, as well as our students who are able to re-center themselves after we get the all clear and return to that academic day that is so important," said Kelly Avants, a CUSD spokeswoman.

Wednesday night, many parents are still taking in all the information from police and school leaders and evaluating how they'll handle the rest of the school week.

"I'm very aware that it could happen anywhere. I just pray every day, hug them a little tighter every day since those situations have happened throughout the years," said Montgomery.

If the person responsible for making these swatting calls is found and arrested, they face felony charges that could put them behind bars for up to three years.

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