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Some students fled Bettendorf's homecoming dance, thinking there was a gun threat. It turned out to be a rumor.
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Some students fled Bettendorf's homecoming dance, thinking there was a gun threat. It turned out to be a rumor.

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Reports of gunfire or a gun on campus disrupted Bettendorf's Homecoming Dance on Saturday, but authorities have said no evidence of either was found.

Around 9:42 p.m., dispatch received a call reporting gunfire in the gymnasium where the dance was being held, Bettendorf Police Department Chief Keith Kimball said in an email.

The Bettendorf Community School District said a rumor of an armed person on campus started toward the end of the evening.

"There was an officer that was in the gymnasium along with staff, adult volunteers and students the entire time when the call came out and he confirmed that this was not the case and unfounded," Kimball wrote.

There were procedures in place to allow district staff to handle the situation, the district said.

The disruption to other students was minimal, Kimball and the district said. Most students were unaware of the potential threats, which were unsubstantiated.

“Law enforcement and administration investigated all reported concerns that were received, including a report that shots were heard to be fired,” the district said. “At no time were shots fired in the school or on school grounds.”

A short time later, a student apparently yelled the word “run,” which caused other students to flee the building, the chief and the district said.

Once outside, they called parents to pick them up, thinking there had been gunfire or someone had been shot, Kimball said.

No injuries were reported but a few students fell and were trampled, he said. Others tripped over chairs while leaving the building, Kimball said.

At no time was anyone at the building in immediate danger, he and the district said.

Authorities got 911 calls from students upset and scared and also from parents with third-hand, inaccurate information from their children, Kimball said.

"After the situation calmed down and it was determined to be false the staff and police reassured the students that it was safe to return and the dance continued and ended on its regularly scheduled time," Kimball said.

The police department and the district are investigating how the incident occurred, he said. As of Monday, authorities were still attempting to identify the person who started the rumor.

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"The Bettendorf Police Department and Bettendorf School District take these actions seriously even if it was a hoax or prank, and if it can be determined who started this there could be criminal and/or school consequences of those involved," Kimball said.


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