MEDINA — More than 150 law-enforcement personnel responded to the Cleveland Clinic Medina Hospital complex for what turned out to be a hoax.
A report came in at about 1:30 p.m. Tuesday that there was an active shooter on the second floor of the Medina Medical Center, 970 E. Washington St.
After more than a few tense moments, Medina Police Chief Ed Kinney announced that it was a “fake call.”
“The call came into our dispatch center,” he said. “The call was for a female that was threatening people with a gun on the second floor of the medical building. The caller said she had several hostages.”
Police arrived and found no shooter, no hostage and no witnesses to the alleged event.
In the meantime, police formed a perimeter around the hospital complex, which enacted its lockdown procedures. Police were stationed on top of the medical building with rifles.
A contractor was stranded on the roof of the hospital as police determined if he was involved or not.
Several witnesses said a call went over the public-address system at the hospital for a code silver — an active shooter — and that it was not a drill.
“She said this is not a joke,” said one doctor who said he wasn’t able to give his name.
Kinney, who was in charge of the scene, said his team searched the hospital, room-by-room.
“We did not come in contact with the suspect or any witnesses to substantiate the original call,” he said.
He said the call came into Medina police’s communication center. He’s not sure who made the call.
“Rest assured we’ll look into it (and) thoroughly investigate the origin of that call.”
Kinney said he doesn’t know why people make fake calls like these, other than to say “people do silly stuff.”
Hospital officials were impressed with the response of the law enforcement.
“That’s what we do,” Kinney said.
“I’d characterize it as a hoax. It caused quite a stir.”
Brunswick police, Montville police, the Medina County Sheriff’s Office, the Ohio Highway Patrol, Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, and Homeland Security were on the scene.
Thirty to 40 law enforcement vehicles were on the scene, including a helicopter.
After the all-clear was given about 3:30 p.m., Montville police rushed out of the parking lot, lights and sirens blaring. There was a heart attack call at Buehler’s Fresh Foods River Styx.
Frantic family members showed up at the hospital when news broke of there being “an active shooter.” They wanted to make sure their loved ones were safe. However, they weren’t allowed into the hospital. Many of their wives, husbands and children were barricaded in safe rooms at the hospital.
Barb McCoy was one of those family members. She was on a group text with her two daughters — one of whom was a nurse practitioner barricaded in a room near nuclear medicine.
“After 15 minutes of that, I couldn’t sit at my desk any longer,” she said.
McCoy hopped in her car at her office in Washington Park, about a mile west of the hospital, and drove down to 1000 E. Washington St. Soon afterward, police blocked traffic from coming into the hospital lot.
“Even when your child is 35 years old, you want to run to her when she is scared,” she said. “It was horrible.”
Her daughter, Christine Hallman, told her mother she was OK.
“She’s just scared,” McCoy said. “She wants to go see her kids.”
McCoy’s son soon called from Scottsdale, Arizona. He had seen something on Facebook about the lockout.
“We’re a close-knit group,” she said.
Medina Hospital released a statement just before 4 p.m. Tuesday.
“All patients, visitors and employees are safe,” it said. “We thank all first responders for their quick actions to ensure the safety of everyone at the Medina health care campus, as well as our Medina Hospital caregivers for their immediate response.”