Fake 911 Call by Students Leads to Criminal Charges

October 4, 2006 -- Posted at 6:58 p.m. CDT

BLACK ROCK, AR -- Four 7th grade boys are behind bars in Lawrence County after a school shooting threat was called in to 911 on Tuesday afternoon.

The threat was later proved to be a hoax, but was taken very seriously by school and law enforcement officials.

The following is a transcript of the 911 call between the law enforcement officials and one of the students:

911 Operator: 911, where is your emergency?

Caller: Black Rock High School.

911 Operator: Black Rock High School?

Caller: At 1:15 there will be a shooter on the building.

911 Operator: A shooter on top of the building?

Caller: Yes.

911 Operator: Who is this?

Caller: This is anonymous.

911 Operator: At what building at Black Rock School?

Caller: The gym.

911 Operator: On top of the gym?

Caller: Yes, I have to go now.

911 Operator: Do you know who the shooter...

It all began, Tuesday around 1:00 p.m.  After the call, the school was locked down and searched by police officers.

"We have radios and we contact the principals and we just told them to keep everybody in their classrooms," said Lawrence County School Districts Assistant Superintendent, David Foley.

When nothing was found, the officers got the 911 tape and played it for school officials who were able to identify the voices of four 7th grade students.  In addition to the 911 tape, the four boys had been bragging about making the call.

The call was made from a cell phone.  It was a deactivated "tracfone", a pay as you go cellular phone that can be purchased almost anywhere.  Deactivated cell phones can be used to call emergency officials.

The students spent Tuesday night in jail, and Wednesday went before a judge in Lawrence County.

"We did have court hearings on them today.  They've all been sentenced to ten days in the juvenile facility in Jonesboro.  After that ten days, we will file the charges," said Lawrence County Sheriff Dan Ellison.

Each of the four boys face a charge of falsely communicating a terrorist threat, filing a false report with a law enforcement agency, and terrorist threatening, all of which are felony charges.  They also each face one class a misdemeanor of falsely making a 911 call.

Authorities say the reality of the situation hasn't sunk in yet for the teenagers.

"They thought it was funny last night when we had them in the jail in the juvenile area.  Even today they tore a blanket up and tried to flush it down the commode," said Ellison.

The boys will go before a judge after those ten days to face the charges.

In addition to criminal charges, the boys also face problems at school

"They could face expulsion or suspension.  What ever is determined, that will be up to Mr. Morris and myself.  He and I will discuss that at a later date," said Foley.

Now facing life altering charges, the lives of the three thirteen year old and one twelve year old are changed.

"When we talked to these young men, they didn't understand at all the gravity of what they have done, because all the sudden they shut the school down and they disrupted everything," said Ellison.

The boys will now be transported to "A" juvenile facility in Batesville.