PRESS RELEASE FROM MENIFEE POLICE DEPARTMENT-February 2, 2023 – At approximately 11:30 a.m., our communications center received a call from a student at Santa Rosa Academy reporting a suspicious person on campus. A few moments later, another caller reported a possible active shooter was on campus. Officers from the Menifee Police Department quickly arrived on scene and established a presence on campus. Support personnel from several additional agencies responded to assist in a search for the subject who was reported to have
been on the school campus.
During the initial search for the subject, contact was made with school officials. Information was received and the reported suspicious person was only observed through the schools’ video surveillance
system. Upon their initial surveillance observation, school officials placed the school on a “Lock-In” status while they reviewed their video to determine if there was in fact a suspicious person on campus.
School officials did not request police services as they had not yet determined a threat existed.
Officers and school officials reviewed the video surveillance for the school day, and the original video of the suspicious person could not be located. Contact was made with the student who called police
and they admitted they did not see a suspicious subject. The student became fearful when campus security began sending students back to their classrooms, so they contacted the police. It is unknown
at this time why the second caller reported an active shooter on campus.
The campus remained in lockdown status while officers conducted a room-to-room search to confirm the safety of the students and staff. Once the campus was deemed safe, officers and school officials
implemented their reunification protocol to reunite parents with their children.
Through interviews with school staff and students at Santa Rosa Academy, the report of a suspicious person on campus or any active shooter activity was deemed to be unfounded.
Upon deeming Santa Rosa Academy safe, our communications center received a call from an individual at Paloma Valley High School indicating the “suspicious” person who was reported to be on campus at
Santa Rosa Academy was now on campus at Paloma Valley High School with a knife. At the same time, we had a School Resource Officer (SRO) on campus who was monitoring the front of the school
due to the activity at Santa Rosa Academy. The SRO had not seen or heard anything suspicious. Out of an abundance of caution, the school was placed on lockdown and officers responded to search the campus to ensure the safety of students and staff.
Officers did not locate any suspicious person(s) on the Paloma Valley High School campus. Once the campus was deemed safe, the lockdown was lifted.
The Menifee Police Department works proactively with our schools to prepare for emergency responses and have built strong working relationships to cooperatively work together during potential or actual critical incidents that occur on campus.
Incidents like today, prove the critical importance of the community only relying on official information sources. Social media chatter can often spread misinformation, cause undue fear, and unnecessarily escalate the situation. If you’re on social media, we strongly encourage you to follow Menifee PD and the City of Menifee to receive accurate updates and information (or Valley News who works directly with the Menifee Police Dept and the city).
The Menifee Police Department would like to thank our regional law enforcement partners including the Murrieta Police Department, Hemet Police Department, Riverside County Sheriff’s Department, California Highway Patrol, and District Attorney’s Office who responded to assist us ensure the safety of our students and staff. We would also like to thank Cal Fire for their quick response to provide any needed emergency medical services. This coordinated response highlights the importance all our regional partners place on school safety.
Our investigation continues. If we are able to determine any of the phone calls were intended to report a false emergency or instill fear in the community, we will hold those individuals accountable to the
fullest extent of the law.
UPDATE — 1:05 p.m. Feb. 2: “No active shooter. It was a suspicious subject and somehow reports came in of a person with a gun. Proven not true. Everyone is ok. School is reopened,” reported Menifee Lt. Gutierrez.
Around 12:15 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 2, the Valley News had gotten reports of numerous officers on scene investigating the report of a suspicious person on the campus of Santa Rosa Academy.
“Out of an abundance of caution, the campus was placed on lockdown. No weapons scene and no reports of injuries. Officers are clearing the campus, building by building,” according to Menifee PD.
The Menifee Police Dept. Is asking “If you have a student on campus please do not show up to pick them up. They are not able to meet with you yet. We will provide an additional update soon.”