HOLMDEL, N.J. (CBSNewYork) — A report of an armed intruder at a New Jersey elementary school was all a hoax.
Village Elementary in Holmdel had been placed on lockdown at around 10:50 a.m. Tuesday after officials received a phone call that there was an armed gunman inside the school.
Police searched the school and snipers went up on the roof looking for the alleged gunman.
Students were evacuated and parents were terrified.
It took police several hours to conduct a sweep of the school, WCBS 880’s Jim Smith reported.
The children were escorted out to wait on buses until returning to the school after the all-clear was given, authorities said.
Parents had raced to Village Elementary as rumors were flying.
“I was quite nervous, quite nervous, especially when you get a call that there is somebody walking the halls with a gun,” parent Dina Schultz told CBS2’s Christine Sloan.
“You never know,” she added. “Today’s world, there’s lunatics everywhere, and anybody can snap at any given moment. So I trust not many people.”
Christine Gallinaro was among a group of parents that were trying to breathe easy after the scare.
“I’m glad that both my children who go to school here are safe,” she said.
As parents anxiously waited outside the school, they got the news that is was all a prank. “We are 99.99 percent it is just a hoax,” an official announced to the crowd.
Monmouth County Prosecutor Chris Gramiccioni said there was no danger to any children or school personnel.
“We will always view a threat of violence against our young students as a serious threat,” Gramiccioni said. “A dozen law enforcement agencies responded in full force today to ensure that safety but it turned out to be nothing more than a hoax — a very costly hoax — and thankfully no one was hurt.”
The response was massive as children were hauled into buses that sat idle.
In wake of school tragedies like Sandy Hook, this is the new normal, Sloan reported.
Gramiccioni said the show of force was necessary. “There was a report of an armed gunman — a phone call that was made to school officials to Holmdel Village school claiming there was an armed gunman inside.”
“The school system — they did a great job,” one mother said. “We just want to get her and hug her and just take her home.”
“Hopefully the individuals responsible are arrested, tried and convicted,” said parent Terrence Wall. “This is absolutely a crime we are living in troubled times and we appreciate the multi-jurisdictional action today.”
Holmdel Mayor Eric Hinds said he could not be more proud of the response effort.
“Chief Mioduszewski’s leadership and his team were well prepared for this event, but I would also like to thank all the neighboring towns for offering resources and support,” Hinds said. “As a parent of a third grader, I share your concern. However, knowing such great preparation and leadership exists brought me great comfort.”
There was a similar incident at another school last year that turned out to be a hoax, investigators said.
Gramiccioni shared very little information but said the person responsible will face criminal charges, Sloan reported.
The person who called in the threat could get 18 months in prison.