911 Call of "Several People With Guns" Outside Odessa Elementary School Sends Parents into Panic

By Jen Kastner
NewsWest 9

ODESSA- On Monday, a temporary shelter-in-place was executed at Gale Pond/Alamo Elementary School in Odessa. At approximately 7 a.m., Odessa Police Department received a call saying there were several people outside of the school with guns.

As it turns out, officials believe it may have been a hoax, but a full investigation is underway.

Vanessa Sanchez has two kids that attend the school. She tells us, "When I pulled up to drop off my boys, there were cops everywhere and we started panicking."

She says the streets surrounding the school were packed with officers.

Once the 911 call came in, parents were immediately notified of the situation and the shelter-in-place was secured. After both Odessa police officers and Ector County ISD police officers swept the building, it was deemed safe and the shelter-in-place was lifted shortly after 8 a.m.

NewsWest 9 learned that some parents decided to keep their kids home for the day, after learning about the 911 call. The school will be excusing all of those absences.

ECISD Police Chief, Mark Rowden, said, "There was a huge police presence at the school and that would be alarming to any parent and so it's understandable given the climate of things that have occurred recently since Sandy Hook Elementary School and what occurred in Houston. People are a little 'on edge' and rightfully so."

Currently, authorities believe the call was a false report, but they can't be sure of that until the investigation wraps up.

"If it's false, which we don't know for sure yet, it takes away resources that are protecting children elsewhere," Rowden said.

Officers are now busy trying to trace the call. If it's determined it was intentionally made, Chief Rowden says there's a myriad of charges the person(s) responsible could face.

"It could be a 'false alarm' or a 'false report'. It could be anywhere from a misdemeanor, all the way up to a felony," Rowden said.

"I can't keep my children away from society. I can't. I'm not going to take them away from that but I do worry every single day," Sanchez said.