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Chula Vista Police: 'Misunderstanding' leads to lockdown at Mater Dei High School

School was locked down on previous day over non-credible threat
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Posted at 10:21 AM, Sep 15, 2022
and last updated 2022-09-15 13:21:52-04

CHULA VISTA, Calif. (KGTV) – For the second straight day, Mater Dei Catholic High School in Chula Vista was locked down due to a threat that was later determined to be unfounded.

Just after 9 a.m. Thursday, Chula Vista Police said officers were called to the campus on 1615 Mater Dei Drive in response to a report of someone on the school grounds with a gun. The school was locked down as officers investigated the report.

According to police, the lockdown was lifted a short time later after it was determined that there was no credible threat to the school.

In a tweet following the lifting of the lockdown, CVPD officials said, “The initial report was that someone had a gun on campus. Upon further investigation, officers determined it was a misunderstanding about a massage gun being used by a student in a classroom. CVPD is not treating this as a crime; the matter has been turned over to school staff.”

Thursday’s lockdown comes less than 24 hours after the school, and nearby Veterans Elementary, were secured due to a threat that was called in.

The bogus threat of campus gun violence came via a call to the Chula Vista Police Department from an out-of-state telephone number at about 1 p.m. Wednesday, CVPD Sgt. Anthony Molina said.

"The caller, who sounded like a male, said he was locked in a classroom with several other students and (that) there were others injured nearby," Molina said. "He also reported seeing two men with rifles on campus."

"Coincidentally, a Chula Vista police officer was working on reports in a Mater Dei campus parking lot when the call was received," the sergeant said. "He was able to advise responding officers that the campus appeared to be operating as usual, with students still casually moving about the campus."

After officers -- including one operating a camera-equipped flying drone -- checked out the classrooms and grounds of the high school, finding no threats, authorities lifted the lockdowns, which had been in effect for about an hour.

"Having direct communication with school staff, officers learned the room number mentioned by the caller did not exist," Molina said.

Several similar shooting threats took place in other parts of California at about the same time as the campus gun scare in Chula Vista.

A telephone call reporting a possible gunman on the campus of Lancaster High School in northern Los Angeles County shortly before 1 p.m. prompted a massive sheriff's department response and lockdown, but no evidence of gunfire or a shooter was found.

Bishop Diego High School in Santa Barbara also was locked down in the early afternoon in response to what police called a "false report of an active shooter." No evidence of a perpetrator or weapon was found at that campus, and police said the "false report is under investigation."

On Tuesday morning, a false report of shots being fired at Hollywood High School led to a massive response by the Los Angeles Police Department, but that one also turned out to be bogus.

There was no immediate indication of whether the various threats were related.