School threats across US routed from Bakersfield

Posted at 2:28 PM, Jan 19, 2016
and last updated 2016-01-19 20:41:59-05

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. - Threats that were made against at least two schools in Kern County and several schools across the U.S. all were routed through Bakersfield, 23ABC news reported.

Schools including Horizon Elementary School, Discovery Elementary School and Golden Valley High School were the only ones reported to 23ABC News about being on lockdown. Officials haven't released if any other schools in Kern County that were put on lockdown.

Ken Chichester, assistant superintendent for Greenfield Union School District said Horizon Elementary School went on lockdown at about 2 p.m. Tuesday after the office received a phone call about a threat.

Mary Westendorf, Fruitvale School District superintendent said Discovery Elementary received a threat at around 2:20 p.m., prompting the lockdown.

Officials said Golden Valley High School was put on lockdown as a precautionary measure, but no threat was called into the school.

Officials with the Bakersfield Police Department said that the threats to both schools were from a computer-generated voice and that the threats were to specifically harm the children.

Officers from the BPD and high school district stood by as students left the school.

Officials are unable to determine where the number that the calls came from.

BPD officials said that there is no indication that the calls originated in Bakersfield as suggested later in the article.

23ABC News contacted the FBI but they would not comment any further on the matter.

Bomb threats were made against schools in at least 10 New Jersey towns Tuesday, and now authorities believe they are part of a pattern that stretches up and down the East Coast.

None of the threats was considered valid, but schools in Garfield, Bergenfield, Leonia, Fair Lawn, Englewood, Teaneck, Hackensack, Tenafly and Clifton, along with Sayreville in Middlesex County, received the robocall threats overnight. Police are investigating whether they are related.

Some schools were evacuated, while others instituted lockdowns and students were sheltered in place.

Clifton Police Department spokesman Robert Bracken said the high school received a voicemail saying that a bomb had been placed in one of the schools and there was going to be a mass shooting. Other schools received similar threats.

Bracken said there's no indication the threat was real, but precautions were taken.

The alerts left many petrified. "I thought they were going to come here and bomb my school and it's my last year and I don't want this to happen in my last year," said student Britney Raymond.

In Garfield, every school in the district received a threatening call.

"We deployed an officer to each school, at least one if not multiple. We worked in conjunction with the school security and offered to lock down the schools at that point and secure them until we had a chance to get the bomb detection dogs there," said Darren Sucorowski of the Garfield Police Department.

In addition to the threats in New Jersey, 15 were made in Massachusetts, three in Delaware, two in Maryland and one in Pennsylvania.

The FBI said it is aware of the situation, and that the incidents are being handled by local law enforcement partners.

The FBI has volunteered to assist in the investigation since the threat included five states.

The robotic calls were routed from Bakersfield.

"It was scary because everyone was joking around about it, taking it very lightly, but it's scary to have it in your face like that," said Fair Lawn student Adam Tchakhkive. "But thankfully no one got hurt, I don't know about no one because I just know Fair Lawn.