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April 1, 2023

Threat prompts lockdown at Hollister School District meeting

A person called in a threat to the Hollister School District board meeting Tuesday night, prompting a lockdown and cutting short the gathering.

It happened at about 7:30 when a school official informed trustees there was a report of someone with a shotgun outside the district headquarters on Cienega Road, Board Trustee Robert Bernosky told San Benito Live at about 9 p.m. while still in the district building waiting to be escorted out.

Hollister police and county sheriff’s deputies responded and locked down the facility. Police darkened the room, and had officials and attendees lay behind obstructions for about 15 minutes.

The sheriff’s office in a statement later deemed the situation a likely “hoax.”

“Nobody could leave,” Bernosky said. “It was a real threat at the time.”

Law enforcement conducted a search of the facilities. At one point, there was talk of an additional report that a caller claimed to have shot someone, but that didn’t end up being credible.

By about 8:30 p.m., police deemed the area safe enough to start escorting everyone to their vehicles one by one, Bernosky said.

He said there were about 50-60 people in the board meeting at the time of the incident. Bernosky noted trustees agreed to reconvene the meeting at 1:30 p.m. Saturday after a planned retreat.

“Well, I thought it was real, and I immediately wanted to reach out to my wife and just make contact with her,” Bernosky said. “And I said a little prayer, and I just sort of waited.”

In the aftermath, Bernosky said he has a “high degree of confidence” in local law enforcement. Police officials could not be reached immediately Tuesday night.