CAPE CORAL, Fla. — Parents, siblings, and loved ones are breathing a sigh of relief knowing Mariner High School students are safe. A swatting call, claiming there was an active shooter at the school, came in on Thursday afternoon. According to Cape Coral Police, it was a prank.
Officers from across Lee County surrounded the school shortly after 1:00 p.m. According to Cape Coral Police, the caller said six people had been shot at the school. It immediately went into lockdown, 30 minutes before dismissal.
Swatting is when a person calls the police, attempting to get a large number of officers to a fake emergency.
"I was literally speeding over here, crying, shaking, was very nerve-wracking," said Melanie Oramas-Collado, a senior at Mariner High School. "Some of my friends were hiding inside bookcases. I had friends hiding behind the gym."
As students were told to hide, parents and siblings were outside waiting to hear what happened.
"I started crying because I don’t want anything to happen to my sister. I just want her to be safe. I literally could not imagine a life without her," said Elizabeth Dail, who was waiting to pick up her sister.
"I said go somewhere and hide. She said we are," Hailey Brown's sister texted her while in the lockdown. "She said somebody knocked on the door and said police open up. I said do not open the door. She said we aren’t."
Students were soon evacuated to the football field behind the school or the parking lot in the front. However, the gates remained closed until 2:45 p.m.
"That’s the last thing you want to see — your son with their hands in the air for any reason, especially for a school lockdown," said Tony Allen, whose son goes to Mariner High. "I’m glad everybody’s ok. Just a few skipped heartbeats."
The school lockdown lifted shortly before 3:00 p.m. and students reunited with their loved ones.
"I am so sorry you had to go through that. I’m so sorry," one parent said hugging their daughter.
When students left, they shared their experience of the lockdown. One student said she was in the bathroom when her friends came in and they hide in a large stall.
"A cop came in and started pounding on the door. It scared me so badly. I didn’t know what it was," the student said. "He announced that it was cops, so we opened the door and he escorted us out."
"It was really scary. I was crying when the cops came in and it was terrifying," another student said.
When they realized it was a prank, they were relieved, but many were also frustrated.
"It’s not right to be able to put all these kids in this whole school through that much fear and trauma and just everything. It’s terrifying," one student explained.
"It’s not just about calling the police in here. There were parents that were literally crying, they were in tears wanting to jump the gate," Allen said. "They were all shaken up and I don’t blame them."
Through the frustration came a sense of gratitude, knowing everyone is ok.
"I feel super grateful, very grateful that she’s ok," Dail said.
As of Thursday evening, no one has been arrested for the swatting call.