School Lockdown Lifted, Florida Manhunt Goes On

Threat to open fire at Florida school sparked a lockdown in Broward County.

Nov. 10, 2010 — -- A school lockdown that had trapped hundreds of thousands of students inside their South Florida schools today has been lifted while police continue to search for the suspect who allegedly threatened to open fire in one of the schools.

"The credibility of the threat has diminished based on where we are in the investigation," said Capt. Dan Rakofsky of Pembroke Pines Police Department.

Rakofsky said police have "detained and interviewed" several suspects who might be connected to the incident, officers "do not believe they have spoken to the person who made the threat."

Officials are still working to identify the woman and the man, Rakofsky said.

The lockdown was placed on nearly 300 schools in Broward County after a woman called a radio station just after 8:30 a.m. to warn that her husband was allegedly preparing to open fire at an area school.

When officers were notified of what they considered a "credible threat," it was also discovered that someone had sent an e-mail address to the radio station hours earlier.

"Initially we received information on a threat from a local radio station indicating a woman had called in to say her husband was going to show up at a school in Pembroke Pines and start shooting," said Rakofsky.

"We believe the wife was trying to influence the radio station to then influence her husband not to do anything," he said.

The email indicated that "something big will happen at a government building," according to Rakofsky.

Broward Superintendent James Notter told the Associated Press that the threat included hate words, apparently against certain ethnic and religious groups.

Marcy Smith, a spokeswoman for the Broward County School District, told that teachers are trained for these types of emergency lockdowns and that special precautions were taken to protect the children during the lockdown.

The lockdown was lifted at approximately 1:45 p.m., just before the first of the school dismissals were to begin. All after-school activities except for child care programs were cancelled, and authorities urged students and families to be mindful of their surroundings.

Florida School Lockdown Caused Anxiety in Parents

Rakofsky also said that there would continue to be "enhanced security measures" around schools throughout the district.

Police cars were spotted blocking the driveways to several of the schools and officers wearing bullet-proof vests could be seen guarding some entrances.

The lockdown also sparked fear in some parents. Irma Hernandez had tears in her eyes as she and her husband waited outside Charles W. Flanagan High School, where her 15-year-old son is a student, according to The Associated Press.

"We're just nervous, scared," she said. "We don't know what's going to happen."

Broward County has the second-largest school district in the state of Florida and includes about 260,000 students.