Tennessee schools in the Hawkins County School District were placed in lockdown Tuesday morning after reports from Volunteer High School claimed there was an active shooter in the area. The Hawkins County Sheriff’s Office said they responded to reports from the high school in Church Hill and that officers are at the scene.
Hawkins County EMS officials reported that “patients have been transported from the scene to a local hospital.” There were two injuries reported unrelated to the shooting. No gunshot injuries were reported. The extent of the patients’ injuries is unknown. It wasn’t immediately clear how many active shooters there were or whether the shooter was inside Volunteer High School.
There is currently a large police presence in the area surrounding Volunteer High School. The suspect has not been arrested and is considered an active threat, according to reports. “Out of an abundance of caution, all schools from Surgoinsville to East Hawkins County have been placed on lockdown,” according to the Hawkins County School District.
Police are conducting a detailed sweep of Volunteer High School. The sweep is expected to last another two to three hours. Schools are focusing on reunification efforts.
During a news conference Tuesday, Matt Hixson, the Director of Schools, said that “the incident occurred during the parent drop-off time before students’ first period. Plans are to return students to Volunteer High School tomorrow with law enforcement clearance.”
In a series of Facebook posts, the school district announced the “emergency situation at Volunteer High School” and informed parents that students are being evacuated to the nearby National Guard Armory. “There has been an emergency situation at Volunteer High School,” the post read. “Our major concern at this time is for the safety of our students and staff.”
The announcement warned parents to “please stay clear of the area to allow law enforcement and emergency personnel access to the area. VHS students are currently being evacuated to the National Guard Armory. More information will be forthcoming.”
In a second post, the Hawkins County School District reported that “we are currently under lockdown at Volunteer High School. The parameter is secure. Please do not attempt to come to the school. Parents may go to the Mount Carmel National Guard Armory for reunification. Please stay in your vehicle and wait for your child to be brought to you.”
A final post updated parents, letting them know that “the students have been loaded onto buses and are being escorted to the Mount Carmel National Guard Armory for reunification with parents.” It asked parents to “please stay in your cars when you arrive at the armory and wait for further instructions. Staff is there to assist with reunification process.”
A photo posted to social media showed the police presence at Volunteer High School. Dozens of police vehicles are parked on the campus and were working to secure the area. Police are still investigating the incident but not a lot is known about the Tennessee shooter.
A video posted to Twitter showed a line of school buses evacuating students from Volunteer High School to the Mount Carmel National Guard Armory. It wasn’t reported if students were reunited with their parents yet or if they are waiting to leave.
While it was confirmed that patients were transported via EMS to a nearby hospital, it wasn’t clear what injuries they sustained. It wasn’t reported whether any victims sustained bullet wounds. The suspect has not been named and it was not reported whether the active shooter was arrested. More information to follow.
Update: Hawkins County Sheriff’s Office provided an update via Facebook: “This morning, just before 8:00, the Hawkins County Sheriff’s Office received a call stating that an active shooter was inside Volunteer High School. Deputies responded and immediately began searching the school. At this time, a suspect has not been located and no injuries have been reported. The investigation is ongoing, and multiple agencies are assisting.”