April 30. 2013 11:55PM

Concord High gun threat a hoax

New Hampshire Union Leader

CONCORD — Police acknowledged they were overwhelmed Tuesday night when a false report of a gun-totting teenager was exacerbated by social media.


The false report of a gunman at Concord High School caused police to activate the regional SWAT team, said Lt. Timothy O’Malley.


The police secured and evacuated the school. Simultaneously, people were posting inaccurate messages on social media. Some said a bomb went off. Another urged people to go to the school, which caused additional problems for police.


Meanwhile, citizens and reporters contacted the station.


“The more you say, ‘No, this didn’t happen,’ then you get ‘what did happen?’ while at the same time we’re trying to figure out what the reality is in the midst of the incident,” said Police Chief John Duval.


Duval said police have dropped criminal-threatening charges against an 18-year-old originally thought to have brought a gun to the school. They are investigating statements made by a minor student who police said lied about the gun threat. She may be charged with a crime, Duval said.

Previous story follows:

CONCORD - An 18-year-old male is in custody after police said they were called to Concord High School at 7:35 p.m. for a report of one student threatening another with a gun.

The teen was arrested off school grounds, police said, but not before the school was evacuated and surrounded by a massive law enforcement presence - including more than 30 police cruisers and a special operations armored vehicle.

About 50 people were inside the building taking adult music classes and a college culinary class, Assistant Principal Steve Rothenberg said. There were also some students filming a movie, he said; some wore makeup, including fake blood.

There were no injuries in the incident, Rothenberg and police said.

"What we can tell you is that everybody is safe," Rothenberg said about 10 p.m.

The 18-year-old was charged with criminal threatening with a dangerous weapon, a class B felony. Police would not say if a weapon was recovered.

- Tim Buckland, New Hampshire Union Leader