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Hoax shooting call evacuates Tennessee high school on first full day of classes, police say

An "emergency situation" at Volunteer High School closed all campuses in Hawkins County.

A caller falsely reported an active shooter at a Tennessee high school Tuesday, touching off a massive police response as students were evacuated and several nearby campuses were locked down, authorities said.

Hawkins County sheriff's deputies and Church Hill police officers rushed to Volunteer High School, where students had just returned to campus Monday. Tuesday was to have been the first full day of class.

IMAGE: Volunteer High School in Church Hill, Tenn.
Volunteer High School in Church Hill, Tenn.Google Maps

The school is just south of the Kentucky state line and a little more than 80 miles northeast of Knoxville.

The Hawkins County School District locked down schools because of the "emergency situation at Volunteer High School," the school system said Tuesday.

But it all turned out to be a hoax, touched off by a 911 call just before 8 a.m., officials said.

The caller "advised the dispatcher that he'd been bullied and harassed by popular students and that he was in the main bathroom at Volunteer and he was armed with a handgun," Hawkins County Sheriff Ronnie Lawson told reporters. "Said he was next to the office and he was going to make his way to the gymnasium, where he was going to shoot his gun."

Law enforcement officers rushed to the scene, and a city officer even got onto campus while the call was still happening, Lawson said.

"We did a thorough search. We evacuated as many students as possible," Lawson said. "At this time, everything appears to be: This call was a hoax."

There were no injuries during the evacuation and lockdowns, officials said.

Deputies, police and Tennessee Bureau of Investigation agents are investigating who made the call.

Volunteer High School seniors were being honored at a breakfast Tuesday morning.