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SWAT Sent To Winnetka School During ‘False Alarm’

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A member of a SWAT team. (Credit: Stephen Brashear/Getty Images)

A member of a SWAT team. (Credit: Stephen Brashear/Getty Images)

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WINNETKA, Ill. (STMW) – A “false alarm” sent a SWAT team to North Shore school Monday evening after the wife of a school employee called police thinking her husband was being held hostage by a man with a gun.

The woman called 911 about 5 p.m. to report a possible hostage situation at Carlton Washburne School at 515 Hibbard St. in Winnetka, a release from Winnetka police said.

The woman said she was listening to a cell phone call from her husband — an administrative employee of the Winnetka School District 36. She said she could not get her husband to respond, but could overhear the muffled sound of his voice, the release said.

Based on what she was hearing, she believed he was being hostage by a man with a gun in his office.

About 30 police personnel responded and set up a security perimeter. A search of the building indicated it was a false alarm and Lake County authorities verified the husband had arrived home safely, the release said.

Further police investigation found the district employee’s cell phone had inadvertently called his wife’s phone without him knowing as he drove home from work. The man was talking out loud and was misunderstood by his wife, who reported hearing only some of his words.

Out of fear for his safety, she called 911 on another line and relayed what she was hearing. The employee arrived home while his wife was still connected to his cell phone and 911, the release said.

Both the man and his wife were interviewed by police and it was determined that no criminal offense happened and charges would not be filed.

Police secured all schools in the district and brought in neighboring police departments to complete a thorough search, but at no point were any students in danger, the school district said on Monday.

© Sun-Times Media Wire Chicago Sun-Times 2010. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed

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