Investigation continues into false rumor of gunfire at Bettendorf High School dance

Published: Sep. 14, 2021 at 3:09 PM CDT
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BETTENDORF, Iowa (KWQC) - Bettendorf police and administration of the Bettendorf school district and high school are continuing to look into the origins of a false rumor of a shooter at the high school’s homecoming dance Saturday.

“At this point, there was never a name given to law enforcement or a school official as to who actually started the rumor,” Bettendorf Police Chief Keith Kimball wrote in an email.

“The Bettendorf Police Department and Bettendorf School District take these actions seriously even if it was a hoax or prank, and if it can be determined who started this there could be criminal and/or school consequences of those involved.”

According to Kimball, on the night of the dance, there were two uniformed officers, along with staff and adult volunteers, specifically to work the dance.

A call came into dispatch at 9:42 p.m. Saturday stating that shots were fired in the gymnasium where the homecoming dance was held. One of the officers who were inside the gymnasium at the time the call was placed confirmed that no shots were fired and that the information was unfounded, Kimball said.

Many students who were unaware of the situation stayed in the gymnasium with minimal disruption. There was never a credible witness who said a weapon was displayed or that shots had been fired, Kimball said.

He said at one point, it sounded like a student yelled “run,” a short time later, which caused a group of students to be concerned and caused “momentary confusion and panic.”

“The same group of students rushed out the front door of the school and went to nearby parking lots or neighborhoods and called their parents to come pick them up, Kimball said.

“We received 911 calls from students that were upset and scared along with now their parents that were calling who also were getting third-hand inaccurate information from their children relaying information that was determined to be unfounded,” he said. “After the situation calmed down and it was determined to be false, the staff and police reassured the students that it was safe to return and the dance continued and ended on its regularly scheduled time of 10:30 p.m.”

The chief said no injuries were reported; however, a few students fell and were trampled on while others tripped over chairs in the commons when rushing out the front door.

At no time were any of the students and staff in any immediate danger, he added.

Police ask anyone with information to report it to school officials or the Bettendorf Police Department or report it anonymously through the P3 Campus Safety App.

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