Less than 24 hours after the deadly mass shooting that targeted college students at a popular Thousand Oaks nightspot, LAPD officers responded to reports of a shooter on the Loyola Marymount University campus — false reports, triggered by a prank.
The initial call to police just after 5:30 p.m. Friday came from a parent whose son had texted her there was an active shooter on the campus, said Lt. Randy Goddard, commanding officer of the LAPD’s Pacific Detectives Division. Six other calls for service followed — each of them reporting third-party information from text messages and social media posts.
At least two LAPD sergeants, 12 patrol officers and one detective searched the campus for an hour but found no evidence of a shooter, Goddard said.
A statement by LMU confirmed that LAPD officers closed campus entrances for an hour and evacuated the Del Rey North dormitory on campus, where the report originated. Investigators “spoke with the person who made the original report” and concluded the report “was the result of a prank,” a spokesman said.
Goddard, who was a first responder to the 2016 murder-suicide shooting at UCLA, said police weren’t amused. After completing their investigation, detectives may ask the city attorney to file misdemeanor criminal charges for making a false report to police.
“This day and age you cannot be doing any type of pranks like this,” Goddard said. “With all the tragedy we see around us in the U.S., let alone just recently in Thousand Oaks, the message I would hope to convey is that this is not taken lightly by police. It’s a serious offense, and it can really do a lot of damage.”
— Joe Piasecki