NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — It was first period when Martin Luther King Jr. Magnet High School’s principal went on the intercom and announced a lockdown.
Student Brady Mitchell said he thought it was a drill at first, but after a matter of moments, he and his classmates started to fear there was an active shooter.
“All of our teachers closed the doors, locked it, shut the blinds,” Brady recalled, adding that his own teacher had a hammer ready to defend her students if necessary.
Members of the Metro Nashville Police Department responded to the school on 17th Avenue North around 8:40 a.m. on Wednesday, Sept. 13 and started canvassing the building, officials said.
Like many schools in Nashville, MLK High School prepares for active shooter lockdowns. As a result, students were ready to fight back against anyone who might try to harm them.
Meanwhile, parents started to gather at the police barricade with nervous faces as they waited to learn more about the situation from law enforcement, school officials, or their own children.
“The first things my daughter texted me was that when they went into lockdown, she grabbed her water bottle, and I didn’t think much about it at the time, but she told me later that she grabbed it intentionally to use it as a weapon if someone did try to enter the classroom,” parent Heather Powell explained.
Powell even took screenshots of the messages from her daughter, who told Powell she was scared and that she loves her.
Once authorities determined the building was secure and the threat was a hoax, school administrators allowed parents to decide whether to allow their children to go home or finish the school day. Some parents said they’re glad there’s no school on Thursday, Sept. 14 so they can be with their kids.
During the lockdown, News 2 spoke with multiple parents who want state leaders to do something about gun reform and school safety. Among the many upset parents was Brady’s father, State Rep. Bo Mitchell (D) of District 50.
“I feel so helpless because so many of my colleagues won’t do anything,” the lawmaker said. “I think the people elected us to do something, and if they were standing here today and their child was inside that building, maybe they’d want to do something.”
“I could have a bullet hole through my forehead right now and it wouldn’t make any real, substantive change,” Brady added.
Metro police reported they are working closely with the FBI after multiple unfounded threats were made against locations around Nashville over the past week. Since Thursday, Sept. 7, the Nashville International Airport, a police precinct, the Hard Rock Café downtown, the AT&T building downtown, and Hunters Lane High School have been threatened, in addition to MLK High School.
So far, the investigation indicates these specific telephoned threats likely came from outside Tennessee, authorities said. Hundreds of similar threats have been reported in other cities across the country, as well as outside the U.S.
“The MNPD continues to take all threats of harm seriously and is taking appropriate action in the midst of the hoax calls that have been received since late last week,” police said in a Wednesday afternoon statement.