An active shooter drill in Chicago went “terribly wrong,” according to WBBM-TV — and panic immediately ensued.
What are the details?
The melee took place on Thursday afternoon after reports of an active shooter emerged. Police arrived on the scene following the reports, but determined the incident was simply a drill after just a few minutes.
The active shooter situation, however, was actually a drill inside an AT&T building that went “terribly wrong.”
Michael Pigott, 1st District Commander with the Chicago Police Department, said it was all a miscommunication.
“At this point, it appears to have been an active shooter drill that went terribly wrong,” Pigott said. “A proper notification was not made to all people in the building. Apparently, a text message went out. They were testing their system and people took that literally — as they should.”
Pigott revealed that people inside the building — who were unaware that the incident was simply a drill — began phoning 911 for emergency help.
“There’s a safe way to do these types of drills,” he warned. “We’ll work with the building management to make sure they’re working on best practices.”
According to the Chicago Tribune, Pigott said that officers checked the building thoroughly following the alert.
“There was a 10- to 12-minute window in which we thought it was a bona fide shooting,” he explained. “Officers went floor by floor securing the building and checking on workers, some of whom had barricaded themselves in conference rooms or locked themselves in bathrooms.”
In an interesting twist, the building is owned by a company controlled by Trump adviser — and son-in-law — Jared Kushner.
In a statement, Kushner Companies said it had no knowledge of the incident.
“Kushner Companies has no knowledge of this incident as AT&T operates the building as the sole tenant on the lease,” the company said.
Lauren Victory, a reporter for the station, shared video footage of the aftermath on Twitter.
She captioned the video, “#BREAKING: NO ACTIVE SHOOTER. Mass panic and police response downtown at the 225 W Randolph building after someone on 7th flower reports “active shooter.” @Chicago_Police confirms that report is UNFOUNDED. Hearing on scanner this may have been a drill gone wrong. @cbschicago.”
A spokesperson for AT&T told WBBM that it was a false alarm.
“A training class this afternoon caused a false alarm in the building. This was an instructional training video – not a drill or formal exercise,” the statement explained. “We’re grateful to the Chicago Police, Fire and Emergency Management teams for their swift response and we are investigating the incident.”
This isn’t the first time something of this sort has occurred.
According to WLS-TV, a similar incident took place in 2017 at Waubonsee Community College in Sugar Grove, Illinois. The miscommunication resulted in a large scale police response.
A similar incident also took place in 2018 at Wright Patterson Air Force Base in Dayton, Ohio, when a training exercise went awry.
Just a few months later, there was another scare at Walter Reed Medical Center in Bethesda, Maryland, when military police tweeted that there was an active shooter in the vicinity of the facility. It was later discovered to be a drill.