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Ardrey Kell High School, Community House Middle locked down after 'hoax' draws massive police response

Students in between classes at Ardrey Kell High School.
Ann Doss Helms
Students in between classes at Ardrey Kell High School.

Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police are investigating after a hoax call about an armed person shut down two south Charlotte schools and drew a huge police response Friday.

The incident started at about noon, when Ardrey Kell High School and nearby Community House Middle School were locked down after reports of someone armed and dangerous at the schools. Ardrey Kell Principal Jamie Brooks sent a message to parents about the lockdown saying, "There is possibly an armed person on campus."

Parents rushed to the schools as news of the lockdown spread, along with police cars, ambulances and helicopters. Officers began searching and clearing classrooms.

By about 12:30 p.m., police said there was no shooting or armed person.

"Officers are continuing to clear buildings. No threats have been located and there is no evidence of a shooting," CMPD said in a statement. "Preliminary reports indicate this is a hoax consistent with hoaxes going on nationwide."

Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools was setting up pickup locations for families to get their children at the schools. Ardrey Kell is one of the state's largest high schools, with almost 3,500 students.

Friday's incident was the second time this week a Charlotte-area school has been disrupted by reports of a fake shooting. On Wednesday, a child called police in Concord and said a person with a gun was attacking Roberta Road Middle School. Police said they quickly determined that was a hoax, and have charged a juvenile with one count of making a false police report.

Ely Portillo has worked as a journalist in Charlotte for over a decade. Before joining WFAE, he worked at the UNC Charlotte Urban Institute and the Charlotte Observer.