Suspects identified in hoax 911 call in Dowagiac

Published 12:10 pm Friday, March 4, 2016

Authorities have identified a pair of middle school suspects in Tuesday’s false 911 call about a school shooting, according to a release from the Dowagiac Police Department.

On Wednesday, Dowagiac police questioned two male Dowagiac Middle School students, a 13-year-old and a 15-year-old, who police suspect are behind the hoax phone call made to Cass County Dispatch. The two, who were not detained by police, could face charges from the Cass County Prosecutor’s Office for the incident.

The pair of students are suspected of placing a 911 call at around 10 a.m. Tuesday, where one of stated to the operator “a shooting in the school,” three times before laughing and hanging up. The operator who received the call reported that the caller sounded like they were younger in age and did not sound excited or under stress.

There was no caller ID information available about the phone that placed the call, though police were able to determine the call was sent from a cell tower in Dowagiac.

After receiving word about the call, the Dowagiac Police Department immediately dispatched officers to Dowagiac Union Schools, Dowagiac Middle School, Justus Gage Elementary and Patrick Hamilton Elementary. A call was made to the Cass County Sheriff’s Office, where the Dowagiac department requested a deputy be sent out to Kincheloe Elementary.

Upon arriving at the schools, officer made contact with building administrators, determining that nothing suspicious was occurring at each location. Police conducted security checks with building staff as well, finding that each school was secure.

Police authorities and administration both determined that a lockdown on the buildings was not necessary, though the district did send out a prerecorded voice message letting families know about the incident.

The district’s school resource officer and school staff identified two suspects the next day, with officers questioning the two young individuals. According to police, the pair told officers they made the prank call after having conversation during school. Police also determined the students never had any intention of carrying out violence at any school.

Dowagiac authorities have sent information about the case to the Cass County Prosecutor’s Office, which will determine to whether or not to pursue charges against the suspects.

Anyone with further information about this incident is asked to call Dowagiac Police at (269) 782-9743.