BEAUFORT, S.C. (Oct. 5, 2022) – The Beaufort Police Department received a phone call at 9:27 a.m. today reporting that there was an active shooter at Beaufort High School. Within three minutes, there were police officers at the school, Police Chief Dale McDorman said at a press conference at the Beaufort County Sheriff’s Office today. The call was a hoax, but before that was determined, police officers and sheriff’s deputies swarmed the school to make sure that students and staff were safe.
“I’ve never been prouder of the men and women of law enforcement in my life,” Chief McDorman said. “I saw officers and deputies running toward the front doors of the school. They did exactly what they’ve been trained to do.”
Also responding were the FBI and ATF, the Port Royal Police Department, the South Carolina Highway Patrol, and a U.S. military police K9 unit, McDorman said.
A joint investigation of the false alarm will take place by the Beaufort PD, the Sheriff’s Office and the FBI. The false alarm today was one of 22 received by schools in South Carolina today, Sheriff P.J. Tanner said, which is the reason that the FBI will be involved in the investigation.
About 40 officers were inside the school at one point, McDorman said, as they cleared the school room by room. More than 80 first responders were at the scene. McDorman, Tanner and Mayor Stephen Murray praised the students and staff at Beaufort High School for their quick response.
“Our students responded quickly and well,” said Beaufort County School District Supervisor Frank Rodriguez. “This is why the training we do is so important.” The students were bused to the Beaufort High School stadium, where they were reunited with their parents.
“Fortunately this was a false alarm,” said Mayor Murray, who was also at the scene. “Hug your kids tonight.”
Sheriff Tanner said that the response was “exceptional” but that the various agencies would review their actions over the next several days to see what could be improved. He said that all 911 data would be turned over to the FBI.
More than 1,000 students attend Beaufort High School, Tanner noted, adding, “We could not be more proud of our kids.”
(Photo: Chief McDorman at press conference today.)