Police: ‘Accidental discharge’ of officer’s gun prompted huge emergency response at St. John’s Prep

There were no threats identified following two initial sweeps of St. John’s Prep in Danvers amid an investigation into a report of a person with a gun on campus Monday.

Danvers Police and the school’s superintendent gave an update just after 4 p.m. saying an officer’s gun accidentally went off which elevated the situation from a swatting response to an actual active shooter situation.

“We are aware of reports of a single, accidental discharge of a firearm by a responding Danvers officer,” state police said.

Local and state police descended upon the school on Spring Street shortly before 2 p.m. and immediately ordered students and staff to shelter in place.

“Several dozen troopers and Danvers police responded to St. John’s Prep for a report of a person with a gun at the school. Immediate entry was made and no threats were identified at this time,” state police said in a tweet.

Law enforcement teams conducted secondary sweeps and worked to clear one building at a time. There have been no reported injuries.

“Teams still conducting sweeps, still no evidence of a gunman or any threat located,” state police said.

Students have since been cleared out of buildings. Some students who fled the school on their own are being directed to the Stop & Shop on Newbury Street to be picked up by their parents.

In a statement, St. John’s Prep said, “There has been a report of an active shooter on campus at Benjamin Hall. Danvers and state police are on site. Students, faculty, and staff are sheltering in place. We will further provide updates as soon as possible.

Benjamin Hall is home to middle school students, labs, and a dining hall.

Shortly before 3:30 p.m., educators announced that they believe the school was the victim of a swatting call.

“We believe that St. John’s was the victim of a swatting call. Everyone is safe. There have been no injuries and police are currently clearing campus buildings as we account for all the students,” school officials said.

There is a heavy police presence at the school and surrounding streets. Video from the scene showed cruisers from multiple departments, officers with rifles, and K9 teams gathered outside.

“The swift and professional response from the Danvers Police Department, the Massachusetts State Police, and our regional public safety partners to this potentially tragic situation made it possible clear the large campus in less than one hour. Our deepest gratitude to area agencies for their response. We also commend the St. John’s Prep administration for their composure and cooperation as the situation unfolded. Their leadership in the face of chaos made a difference,” said Danvers town officials in a statement.

The size of the school is 175 acres with approximately nine buildings and numerous athletic fields, along with a student and faculty population of more than 1,500 people.

Boston 25 has a crew on the scene.

This is a developing story. Check back for updates as more information becomes available.

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