December 16, 2004
An anonymous caller threatened from a nearby pay phone to carry out an act of violence at Gilbert High School on Wednesday, sending two schools into lockdown for hours, police said.
The caller, who identified himself as a Gilbert High student, called 911 at 12:45 p.m. from the phone that was within a mile of the school, said Gilbert police Lt. Joe Ruet.
The person told the dispatcher that he was returning to the school and threatened an act of violence that was not aimed at a specific person, Ruet said.
"There is no indication this was a hoax. We treated it as real and still believe it was real," Ruet said. "There was one final (exam) today, but there was no indication that this was a call that was placed to prevent that final."
When officers responded to the pay phone and didn’t find the caller, they put the high school and neighboring Mesquite Elementary School in lockdown to search and secure the campuses.
During a lockdown, students are isolated in classrooms with teachers, and authorities conduct door-to-door checks in code to make sure everything is safe.
The schools were evacuated at about 3 p.m. without incident.
Police allowed teachers to listen to the 911 call for clues to the caller’s identity, Ruet said.
"Hopefully we’ll identify the student and get them the help they need."