Port Angeles police determine threatening call to school a hoax

PORT ANGELES — Law enforcement officers responded to several North Olympic Peninsula schools Monday morning following a phone call from a person who claimed armed kids were headed to a school.

The Port Angeles Police Department determined within an hour it was a hoax.

A call later traced to Western State Hospital in Lakewood was placed at 9:05 a.m. to Port Angeles High School claiming kids were armed with an AR-15.

The anonymous caller claimed to be a veteran and said he was following a vehicle full of kids, and “they were going to the high school to shoot it up.”

School officials called the Port Angeles Police Department, which sent three officers and deputy police chief Jason Viada, according to Cpl. Clay Rife.

Meanwhile, Clallam County deputies responded to schools outside of city limits in both Joyce and Sequim because of the vagueness of the call, Rife said.

Rife said the call was traced to a pay phone Western State Hospital patients are allowed to use.

It’s believed that one of the patients at the hospital has ties to the Port Angeles area, Rife said.

Once the police department determined it was a false report, officers left the school at about 9:44 a.m., he said.

Afterward, the Port Angeles School District sent an automated phone call to parents and stated the PAPD and Principal Jeff Clark responded immediately.

”PAPD found that the call originated from Western State Hospital,” the message stated. “The institution identified the individual that made the prank call with the help of our local authorities. Thank you, PAPD.”

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