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'Hug mom and dad': Parents react to fake active shooter at South Fort Myers High School

South Fort Myers High School
Posted at 5:11 PM, Sep 16, 2022
and last updated 2022-09-17 12:41:16-04

FORT MYERS, Fla. — The Lee County Sheriff's Office says the active shooter call at South Fort Myers High School was a prank. The fake call prompted deputies to surround the school Friday around 1 p.m. Students sat inside while parents waited outside the fence to see their child.

"Here we are, living the life that no parent should have to live with," said Yaya Lopez, whose son is a senior at SFMHS. "The fear that no parent should have to ever feel."

Her son, Jayden, was at basketball practice when red lights started flashing and the lights turned off.

"They told us to sit against the bleachers and remain silent cause they don’t know what’s going on," Jayden said.

The senior said he texted his mom and she started to FaceTime him. The call lasted three minutes as Jayden's phone was dying. He told his mom he would let her know what happens when he can.

"You shouldn’t have to go through this," Yaya said.

In a video posted by the Lee County Sheriff's Office, you can see two deputies running down the hall. It turns out there was no active shooter.

"We were outside in JROTC and we just saw a bunch of helicopters and stuff and they didn't let us go inside," a freshman said. "I walked in my class and a couple of my friends texted me and they were like there was a shooter."

According to the Florida Fusion Center, an area apart of Florida's Department of Law Enforcement, said there were several "swatting" calls on Friday. This is when someone calls police in an attempt to get a large number of officers to respond to a fake emergency.

Jayden sat inside not knowing any of this was a prank.

"I was just trying to get out there safe and alive and get everybody around me safe and alive out there too," he said.

The prank is something loved ones didn't know about either, like Ed.

"I’m glad no one was hurt. I rushed up here because of my grandson," Ed says. "It's crazy and scary at the same time."

It's not clear who made the prank call, but both Jayden and Ed have strong words for them.

"But there’s multiple schools and multiple parents and multiple students that are worried for your satisfaction. You think that’s cool? Are you satisfied?" Jayden said.

"Everyone that had a little piece of it, even if it was a prank, should be held accountable," Ed said.

As you can imagine, everyone is thankful no one was hurt. On Friday night, Yaya says she hopes students will do this with their loved ones:

"Hug mom and dad. Tell them you love them because at the end of the day, tonight that’s all they’re going to want to hear from you," she said.

The Lee County Sheriff's Office searched and clear all 67 schools in the district as a precaution. A special threats unit with LCSO will be investigating the incident.