RICHMOND, Texas (KTRK) -- Three students are in custody after George Ranch High School in Lamar Consolidated ISD was placed on lockdown Thursday afternoon due to a potential threat being called in, the district said.
At about 11:57 a.m. Thursday, the Fort Bend County Sheriff's Office received a call about a possible school shooting. Once the call was made to 911, authorities contacted Lamar CISD police, who acted right away.
As standard procedure, the campus was immediately placed on lockdown, which means that all of the outside and inside doors to campus were locked. Out of precaution, the neighboring middle and junior high schools were placed in secure status.
The first officers arrived at the school at about 12:03 p.m., according to Lt. Daryl Segura with Lamar CISD Police Department. Officers went to the auditorium area, where the call stated the incident was taking place. When officers looked through, the area was cleared, as no danger was present.
While sweeping the campus, law enforcement went to check every door in the building and all of them were locked. Once the sweep was concluded, three suspects were arrested for making a fake 911 call.
Those suspects face terroristic threats, false reports, and swatting charges, according to Segura.
During an afternoon presser, Fort Bend County Sheriff Fagan also expressed the impact of the fake calls to the community.
"Doing things like this, it takes away a lot of resources from people who possibly need it," Fort Bend County Sheriff Fagan said. "I called out my SWAT, and several officers came out ... I'm not complaining about that. What I'm complaining about is the false call."
As a result of the incident Thursday, the campus increased police presence all day, as well as members of the Counseling Response Team to support anyone who needs it.
In the evening hours, George Ranch High School principal Heather Patterson took a moment to acknowledge the staff and security team's fast response.
"Every threat, big or small, is taken seriously around this building. Security is a top priority for me for my students," Patterson said. "We got in lockdown within three minutes. My staff responded amazingly. My security team, LCISD police, were in there within three minutes to make sure that we were safe and secured."
Patterson's full letter is below.
November 17, 2022
As part of our commitment to keep you informed, I want to provide an update regarding the Lockdown that occurred on our campus today.
This afternoon, Lamar CISD received information from Fort Bend Police Officials that they were en route to George Ranch High School in response to a potential threat that was called in.
As standard procedure, the campus immediately went into Lockdown. During Lockdown, all of the outside and inside doors to campus are locked.
In addition, our neighboring middle school and junior high school were placed in a Secure status. During Secure status, the outside doors are locked, but the campus continues to operate as normal on the inside.
Within 30 minutes, law enforcement officials on the scene determined that there was no active, credible threat. In addition, they were able to identify the source of the initial call(s) and determined that it came from three students-two of which are now in custody.
We are thankful for the swift response and support of the Fort Bend County Sherriff's Department, and our campus and district police officers.
As a result of today's disruption, we will have an increased police presence on campus today as well as members of the Counseling Response Team to support staff and students who may need it. While the threat was determined to be a hoax, we understand that our staff and students have very real emotions as a result of their experience and we always want to take care of each other.
I encourage you to take this opportunity to talk to your children about the consequences of making inappropriate comments on social media as well as making fictitious emergency phone calls. Any inappropriate post or call, even those made in jest, are always taken seriously by campus administration and law enforcement.
I want to emphasize, again, that the safety of our students and staff is always our first priority. We're proud of the culture of safety that we've built at George Ranch High School and we're committed to maintaining a safe school environment for all of our students.
Fort Bend County Judge KP George thanked law enforcement officers for their work in this matter in the following statement on Thursday:
"The collective and swift actions of Lamar Consolidated ISD, our Fort Bend County Sheriff's Office, local and campus law enforcement officers, and our Fort Bend County Office of Emergency Management & Homeland Security, serve as an indication that we are prepared to respond to critical incidents that may occur at our school campuses. Law enforcement officials on the scene were quickly able to determine that there was no active, credible threat. We will continue to work together to ensure the safety and well-being of our students, teachers, families, and communities in Fort Bend County."