CLARK COUNTY — A New Carlisle woman is in jail after deputies said she falsely reported an active shooter at the Navistar Plant on Urbana Road Thursday morning.
Maj. Chris Clark said the worker at the plant texted her sister saying there was a report of an active shooter. That sister then called 911 around 11:45 a.m., which prompted a county-wide law enforcement response to the plant from multiple police agencies, Clark said.
“She said there was a guy that got fired yesterday and he came in with a gun and they are barricaded with the lights off in an office,” the sister said to a 911 dispatcher. “She sent me a text, and I’m afraid to text her if they are barricaded and hiding.”
Clark said deputies were on the scene within two minutes and quickly entered the facility looking for the reported active shooter, when they were eventually alerted that the report was an April Fools joke.
“She put a lot of people in danger today over a stupid joke,” Clark said.
The female worker, identified as Pamela Sisco, 57, of New Carlisle, was arrested. Sisco is due in court Friday morning after being charged with inducing panic and disrupting public services, according to jail records.
A spokesperson for Navistar said she was immediately suspended by the company.
“Navistar has immediately suspended the employee pending further investigation. The company is working with local authorities,” the company said in a statement.
The sheriff’s office said the prank led to multiple 911 calls coming into their dispatch center.
“Because we have seen so many mass shootings everyone is scared,” Gov. Mike DeWine said. “What someone may have intended as a joke, there’s just no tolerance today for a joke like that.”
Workers and family members described the terrifying moments when they thought there was actually an active shooter inside of the plant.
Michelle Newman, who works at plant, said she was ‘beyond confused’ when deputies showed up with their guns drawn.
“They held us at gunpoint and we had to basically put our hands up and walk to them,” said Newman.
Toni Hamilton, who lives in Springfield and whose son works at the factory, described her reaction when seeing the news.
“I didn’t know if I was going to talk to my son again in those seconds. It was horrible,” Hamilton said.
Sheriff Deb Burchett said that one of her deputies was the fist on the scene, and he went straight into the building prepared to face the situation.
Burchett was not amused by the “prank.”
“It’s sick. It’s a sick joke that’s what it is, and it’s not a joke as far as I’m concerned.”