What began as a quiet day at Gregory-Portland High School quickly turned into panic as parents rushed to get their children to safety as rumors of an active shooter blazed across social media.
Students ran and hid in closets with some parents posting online that they heard gunshots in the background while talking to their children during the morning of Nov. 3.
It was later confirmed that the sounds were simply police officers checking the rooms and slamming or kicking in doors to find the suspect, who did not exist.
Portland Police Chief Mark Cory said the incident stemmed from an incident that occurred off campus when two student suspects displayed a firearm to another student. When that student and his mother arrived at G-P High School, they saw one of the suspects in a vehicle and blocked him in.
“As a result of that there was someone who yelled gun or something at that point and the suspect ended up running towards the school,” Cory said. “There was never a gun displayed at the school – there was nothing.
“But as a result of that, there was a call made to the police department that there was an active shooting in progress at the high school, which resulted in a massive response from us and all the area agencies to respond there.”
The Corpus Christi Police Department brought out its K9 unit as well to sniff for weapons in the school, but the suspect was later found at his residence in Portland, arrested and charged with robbery stemming from the incident that occurred off campus.
The social media frenzy caused quite a stir, especially after a Facebook page went live at the scene claiming there was in fact an active shooter at the school.
As soon as the incident was investigated and the ordeal was over, Cory himself went to social media and released a statement saying, “NO ACTIVE SHOOTER INCIDENT AT GP HIGH SCHOOL. REPORTS OF ACTIVE SHOOTER UNTRUE.
“This morning at approximately 9:45 am, an incident occurred OFF CAMPUS involving three GP High School students. Two students allegedly made threats to another student off campus and reportedly displayed a firearm. The parent of the student victim followed the suspects to the high school to report the incident. At that time a report was made to the Portland Police Department of a possible active shooter. Police and school officials responded to the incident as an Active Shooter Event. After an investigation it was found there was NO ACTIVE SHOOTER at the high school. There was NOT a gun displayed at the high school, there were no shots fired at the high school, there were no threats made at the high school. One suspect is in custody at this time for the off campus incident. The incident is still under investigation.”
At the end of the day, Cory was unhappy with the incident blowing up over inaccurate social media posts and said if an incident like that had really happened, the Portland PD would’ve let the public know in a timely manner.
Aransas Pass incident
An incident that took place the day before when a suspect involved in an officer-involved shooting in Corpus Christi wound up in Aransas Pass also contributed to concerns about the G-PISD incident.
The suspect in that incident shot at officers when he was near APHS, prompting officers to try less-than-lethal force twice to no avail.
A statement from the Corpus Christi Police Department stated, “Due to the proximity of the high school when officers were confronted with a serious threat, they placed themselves between the school and threat, to prevent loss of life.
“The suspect continued to resist officers, refused to follow direct commands, and proceeded to evade on foot. After a foot pursuit and the initial shots fired by the suspect, officers encountered the suspect on the 1700 block of Hickory at which point the suspect produced a handgun forcing the officer to use deadly force to protect his life and that of his fellow officers.”
That suspect later succumbed to his injuries.