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Rumor of violence sparks lockdown at St. Francis Hospital
St. Francis Hospital went into a temporary lockdown Wednesday afternoon in response to a threat of violence.
At 12:27 p.m., Federal Way police received notice of a suicidal and/or homicidal male who had called a crisis line. The caller stated that he planned to visit a hospital and kill people before committing suicide, according to police spokeswoman Cathy Schrock.
The caller did not indicate a particular hospital. A bulletin was received by law enforcement agencies through Valley Communications, and police assume the bulletin reached additional 911 centers and hospitals, Schrock said. The call originated in Tacoma, which was also the last known address of the caller.
The lockdown at St. Francis lasted about an hour, said spokesman Gale Robinette. A rumor was spreading among hospital staff that an unknown man was plotting "a violent act" at an undetermined hospital in the area, Robinette said.
According to police, an employee of St. Francis sent a text message to her husband stating "they are under attack and need to hide." Her husband called 911, and officers arrived at the hospital, located at 34515 9th Ave. S. No threats were ever received at St. Francis, police said. The employee, who was contacted by officers, told police she sent the text message to her husband based on the notice of the threat.
During the hospital-initiated lockdown, entrances and exits were restricted to a couple of locations, and security was heightened. Federal Way police later notified the hospital that the threat of violence was not credible, and the lockdown was lifted, Robinette said.
"This day and age, you have to always take this stuff seriously," Robinette said. "We did the right thing."