Hernando High and Brooksville elementary went into lockdown status shortly before noon today after students and administrators at the high school heard what they believed were four shots from a small caliber weapon in a nearby wooded area.
“We had, around 11:35-11:45, two classrooms at Hernando High reported hearing a pop, pop that sounded like a small gun from that area on the south side of the woods, and the school went in lockdown in response to that,” Safety and Security Coordinator Barry Crowley said. “A school resource officer went out to that area, and when the SRO and administrator were out there they heard another pop, which sounded like a small caliber, like a .22 or something.”
Crowley said his office was contacted, and made the decision to put Brooksville Elementary and Hernando High in lockdown status.
“We didn’t want to take any chances,” he said.
The Hernando County Sheriff’s Office and Brooksville Police Department responded and canvassed the area.
Law enforcement officers made contact with one individual during the canvass who lives in a residence behind the school. The individual was not armed, and denied having knowledge of any person that may have been shooting or in possession of a firearm, according to the sheriff’s office.
The sheriff’s office said law enforcement officers did not locate anything else that appeared suspicious in nature.
“They did clear the area after about 20 minutes, saying there was nothing out there to indicate that shots had been fired,” Crowley said. “It may have been nail gun on the other side of the road, but because the sound sounded like a small caliber like a .22 caliber or a rifle, they wanted to make sure there wasn’t a stray bullet from a hunter or something to put anybody at risk.”
Both schools sent out a global connect message to parents – the district’s emergency call system – explaining what happened and that the suspected incident was off campus, Crowley said.
“I believe it was about noon when they came out of lockdown,” Crowley said. “They were in lockdown for a total of 15-20 minutes.”