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Rumors of a school shooter at Cal Poly deemed false alarm

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Cal Poly campus officials assured students on Wednesday that rumors about a potential school shooter on campus were unsubstantiated.
Photo courtesy of Gregg M Erickson / Wikimedia Commons


By Andrew Gregg
Editor-in-chief

A social media post sparked concerns late Tuesday night about a potential mass shooting at Cal Poly — but was deemed a false alarm, according to campus police.

Cal Poly’s University Police Department tweeted around midnight that it had been alerted to the possibility that an active shooter would be on campus Wednesday, and that it was investigating the matter.


It was later determined that the source of the rumor — an Instagram post — was directed at a Long Beach high school.

“UPD investigated throughout the night and today, and that investigation led them to Los Angeles and eventually to Long Beach and the determination that the posting referred to a high school in that area,” said Matt Lazier, media relations director for Cal Poly. “UPD has been working with Long Beach PD and Los Angeles School District Police throughout the night and today to locate sources.”

Cal Poly students expressed their concerns Tuesday morning.

Fears of a mass shooting are widespread in the wake of the Feb. 14 Florida tragedy, where 17 high school students were murdered by a former student wielding an assault rifle. Survivors of the Parkland, Fla. shooting are currently protesting Florida’s gun laws at the state’s Capitol building. Protests are flourishing nationwide, as more and more Americans — especially students — demand stricter gun regulations.

The Instagram post, which was published and circulated Tuesday, read: “POLY STUDENTS!! There has been word of a school shooter, threatening to shoot the school tomorrow. Do whatever you got to do to not be harmed. I for one will not be taking my ass to school. Be safe.”

The UPD, as well as Cal Poly’s official twitter, later tweeted an update Wednesday informing students that no credible threat had been received.

The Long Beach Police Department released a statement regarding the threat.

“The Long Beach Police Department was made aware of an unsubstantiated threat of a shooting at a ‘Poly High School,’” the statement read. “Detectives started investigating the matter right away and worked through the night.  The preliminary investigation found no credible threat to Long Beach Poly High School. The Police Department is working closely with LBUSD, and there will be increased police presence on Long Beach high school campuses, to ensure that students feel safe in their educational environment.”