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Hoax active shooter call at Banfield Elementary School

The original call was a malicious hoax.

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Austin Police Department responded to a reported critical incident at Banfield School this morning. The original call was a malicious hoax.

Today at 9:53am, the Mower County Dispatch and Records Center took a call that an active shooter was at Banfield Elementary School in Austin.

The call ended with what the dispatcher believed were gunshots in the background. Patrol staff was immediately dispatched and Sheriff’s Deputies, who were in Austin, also responded.

Those initial responding Officers and Deputies did not find that a shooting had occurred at Banfield. However, in the course of ascertaining that there was no critical incident, those peace officers did make entry into the school as if such an event was ongoing.

This included breaching a door to do so. Police believe this false call to have been made maliciously in order to generate such a response. School Resources Officers will continue to communicate with the school district following this event. Agency has been in communication with the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension about our incident as well.

Chief McKichan issued the following statement:

In addition to the release, I do want to thank the Austin schools for their partnership with us on school safety issues. We are fortunate to have our School Resources Officers within the district to help with those relationships and communication. I thank Dr. Page for connecting with me while this was ongoing and his in-person response to Banfield today.

It is also not lost on me the impact this has on Banfield students, staff, and parents. I appreciated your cooperation and understanding when the Officers and Deputies were on scene today. I wish I could make it a little less scary. It is also frightening and impactful for those responding law enforcement officers as well. The safety of those kiddos is always our primary concern though. After we leave, I know there are teachers and administrators explaining to the kids why we were there and helping to lessen their anxiety, and I thank you for that.


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