Woman's April Fool's 'Prank': Shooting at College

She told daughter she was hiding after hearing shots; police unamused
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 2, 2014 2:45 AM CDT
Woman Busted for 'College Shooting' April Fool's Prank
Timmons is charged with disturbing schools, aggravated breach of peace, and two counts of unlawful telephone use.   (Spartanburg County Sheriff)

Police in Spartanburg, Va., aren't laughing off a woman's April Fool's "joke" about a shooting in the college where she worked. Police say 54-year-old Angela Timmons sent her daughter a text message to say she was hiding in a bathroom at Virginia College after hearing shots fired; the daughter called 911 after failing to receive a response to a follow-up text and police raced to the scene. "There's like 20-something cops all of the sudden," a witness tells WYFF. "They were just jumping right out of the cars and running straight in." Officers quickly determined there was no threat.

The local sheriff says officers responded at "breakneck speed," fearing they would arrive at the scene of another Columbine or Sandy Hook massacre. He says he was glad it turned out to be a joke—though not a funny one. "Text someone and tell them their tire's flat, that's funny," he tells WPTV. "We're talking about death. It's real. The people of Sandy Hook, when they see this online they're not going to think it's very funny. I don't think it's very funny." Timmons faces multiple charges including disturbing schools. She worked in the college's financial aid office, though it's not clear whether she still has a job. (More school shooting stories.)

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