Mater Dei Catholic High School
An aerial view of Mater Dei Catholic High School. Photo via the school’s Facebook

A school-shooting hoax prompted brief lockdowns Wednesday at a private Chula Vista high school and a nearby primary-school campus, with the threat occurring nearly simultaneously with similar reports that prompted searches of two other California high schools.

The bogus threat of campus gun violence — issued by a single caller — was reported about 1:30 p.m., according to the Chula Vista Police Department.

Authorities locked down Mater Dei Catholic High School and Veterans Elementary while officers went to the campuses to check for any hazards. None were found, police reported.

After about a half-hour, authorities announced that the threat had been deemed unfounded and the schools were being reopened to ordinary operations.

Chula Vista police said they were aware of similar incidents that occurred “in other jurisdictions” that resulted in school lockdowns.

A telephone call reporting a possible gunman on the campus of Lancaster High School in northern Los Angeles County prompted a massive sheriff’s department response and lockdown, but no evidence of a gunman or a shooting was found.

Also around the same time, Bishop Diego High School in Santa Barbara was locked down in response to what police called a “false report of an active shooter.” No evidence of a suspect or a weapon was found at that campus, and police said the “false report is under investigation.”

On Tuesday morning, a false report of shots being fired at Hollywood High School led to a massive response by the Los Angeles Police Department, but that report was also determined to be a hoax.

There was no immediate indication of whether the various threats were related.


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Ellen Bullock