Breaking News: Ellensburg School District experiences lockdown after warning of “imminent threat”

Threat dismissed as “false report” by superintendent


Ellensburg High School (EHS) Principal Beau Snow made an email announcement to students and parents that there was a lockdown in process on May 10 at 1:03 p.m. This was announced after KitCom, a civilian staffed 911 center, sent a report of an imminent threat at 12:28 p.m. 

A statement was later sent out by the Ellensburg School District (ESD) Superintendent Jinger Haberer and ESD District Safety & Security Director Neil Musser stating that ESD, as well as other school districts in the state, have been reporting incidents of swatting.

The statement defines swatting as “a false report of an ongoing emergency or threat of violence intended to prompt an immediate tactical law enforcement response.”

The Ellensburg Police Department (EPD) sent an announcement on their facebook at 1:08 p.m. stating that as a precaution there would be a continued police presence at EHS for the remainder of the school day. According to the post, the EPD is still investigating the threat. 

According to Serena Scheffer-Arango, an EHS junior enrolled in the running start program who was present during the lockdown, an announcement rang out over the school intercom around 12:30 p.m. about the active lockdown, stating that this “wasn’t a drill” and instructing students to hide in classrooms.

“I heard screaming from the cafeteria … and a bunch of people came running past the hallway and into our room, and then one of our club directors held the door closed because our door didn’t have a lock on it,” Scheffer-Arango said.

While the threat was deemed a false report, students nonetheless felt the weight of the situation. 

“I texted my mom to let her know what was happening, and the parents didn’t get a message until after the lockdown was over that everything was fine, but I was with my friend under the desk, we were holding hands,” Scheffer-Arango said. “I could hear other people in the room, there were some people crying because none of us knew what was happening.”

Scheffer-Arango said they had never experienced an active lockdown before at EHS. She mentioned recent national news in terms of gun violence and its impact on students.

“I think running through everybody’s head, it was like, there’s probably a school shooter here because that’s just the current events happening right now,” Scheffer-Arango said. “It’s just kind of jarring that I actually got to experience it, but I also felt relief afterwards that no one was hurt.”

Story has been updated with additional details.