LAKE MARY, Fla. - The Seminole County Sheriff's Office arrested a 12-year-old boy Friday afternoon for calling 911 and falsely reporting a shooting at Lake Mary High School.
The pre-teen, a student at a local middle school, has been charged with misdemeanors of misuse of 911 and disruption of an educational institution.
According to the Sheriff's Office, the juvenile, using a fake name, called 911 just after noon Friday and reported that there had just been a shooting at the high school.
He told dispatchers he was calling from a bathroom at the school.
After an investigation, deputies were able to locate the juvenile and gather evidence linking him to the call.
He has been taken to the juvenile assessment center where authorities will determine the conditions of his release and set a date for an appearance before a judge.
Skywitness 9 HD was over the high school when students were evacuated and were running outside with their hands over their heads.
Deputies worked from room to room before confirming that everything and everyone was safe.
Students said they sought shelter in the weight room, while others hid in closets and some in the gym.
"We hid in a closet for an hour. A good hour," said student Keri Banzy.
Another student, Calvin Harness, said, "I was in the field house the back in the weight room and stuff like that."
Harness said everyone was huddled together.
After more than two hours, students and parents were relieved to learn it was a hoax.
"I felt that he was in danger, yeah," said Banzy.
The high school and nearby Greenwood Lake Middle School were put into code red lockdown, but investigators found nothing.
"There was never a threat to this school. There was never a threat. We went through every class, every student. We went through the closets, the lockers, just everywhere," said Chief Deputy Dennis Lemma of the Seminole County Sheriff's Office.
"As soon as I saw it on the news, I came running. I live right down the street from here," said resident Chris Perez.
Perez said he was at home when he heard the reports about shots fired on campus and that the school was locked down.
"Your heart just drops and you're wondering about everyone that you know that goes to the school and the other families," Perez said.
Perez was not alone. Hundreds of parents rushed to the scene and were forced to gather outside the fence surrounding the school until law enforcement cleared the scene.
Many parents were desperately trying to reach their children by cellphone.
"You panic. You panic. You have kids in school. You send them not to be a victim of a tragedy," said parent Lakisha Williams.
Several hours after the evacuation deputies allowed students to return to campus and school officials resumed classes, but many parents signed their children out of class anyway.
"I feel very comfortable. I feel blessed right now, and I'm just glad that everyone and every student are doing fine and their families are doing fine," said Williams.
Parents and students felt more at ease Friday night and packed a softball game at the school.
“I get to see her and she’s safe. I couldn't ask for anything better than this,” said parent Yvette Reed.
The Seminole County Sheriff's Office says the caller may also be responsible for all the costs associated with the incident.