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Details emerge in lockdown of Missoula’s Hellgate High School

Hellgate High School Lockdown
Hellgate Lockdown
Hellgate High School Lockdown
Posted at 10:50 AM, Apr 05, 2023

MISSOULA – We are learning additional information about threats made on social media that prompted a lockdown of Hellgate High School on Wednesday.

The Missoula Police Department responded to a threat of an active shooter at Hellgate High School just before 10:30 a.m.

The person reporting the incident told authorities the threat was sent over a social media platform, “where a firearm was involved and was confirmed through a credible source,” a news release states. Hellgate High School was then placed on lockdown.
Missoula Police Department spokeswoman Whitney Bennett says law enforcement responded to the scene and began investigating while making sure that students were safe. Law enforcement also searched a private residence but say a person of intertest was not found there.

Hellgate Lockdown
Social media threats prompted a lockdown at Hellgate High School in Missoula on April 5, 2023.

Missoula County Public Schools (MCPS) began what is described as an “organized evacuation” of the school at approximately 1:50 p.m. as law enforcement remained on scene as a safety precaution.

Bennett states that police used information provided by the public to find and detain three girls “as persons of interest” in connection with the incident. Police are also no longer looking for a person of interest "as previously stated.”

An investigation into the incident is continuing. Police say there is no longer a threat to the community.

Hellgate High School Lockdown
Multiple law enforcement agencies responded to Hellgate High School in Missoula on April 5, 2023, following threats made on social media.

MCPS spokeswoman Tyler Christensen tells MTN News the school day is expected to continue as usual at Hellgate High School on Thursday. Bennett told MTN News that police will conduct extra patrols Thursday morning.

Christensen says students and families were notified throughout the lockdown through the MCPS mass notification system, receiving recorded voice messages, emails, and texts during the incident.


(seventh report: 3:14 p.m. - April 5, 2023)

MISSOULA - Several people are being questioned by law enforcement in connection with Wednesday's lockdown at Hellgate High School.

The Missoula Police Department reports they have several people "in custody as persons of interest regarding the threat at Hellgate HS".

A social media post also stated MPD is no longer "seeking a person of interest as previously stated."

Police say there is no longer a threat to the community.


(sixth report: 2:15 p.m. - April 5, 2023)

MISSOULA - Missoula County Public Schools (MCPS) has announced the lockdown has been lifted at Hellgate High School and school is being dismissed early.

MCPS previously announced the "soft perimeter lock-in had been lifted for all other MCPS schools and the school day will continue as usual.

Student dismissal will occur as usual and school buses will run on their normal schedule.

The Missoula Police Department is "actively following all leads and will continue to be diligent during this active investigation," a social media post states.


(fifth report: 1:50 p.m. - April 5, 2023)

MISSOULA - A message sent to parents by Missoula County Public Schools (MCPS) states the "soft perimeter lock-in" has been lifted, except for at Hellgate High School which remains under lockdown.

The MCPS message states "school day & dismissal as usual."

"The soft perimeter lock-in has been lifted for all MCPS schools (except for Seeley-Swan, which did not go into lock-in; and Hellgate High School, which remains on lockdown). The school day will continue as usual. End-of-day dismissal and busing are expected to continue as usual." - MCPS email


(fourth report: 1:30 p.m. - April 5, 2023)

MISSOULA – The Missoula Police Department is looking for a “person of interest” in connection with an incident that prompted Hellgate High School to go into lockdown on Wednesday morning.

MPD states in a social media post they are searching for Kathryna Moreno “as a person of interest in the investigation related to the threat of an active shooter.” Anyone with information about Moreno’s whereabouts is asked to call 911.

MPD says Moreno is “considered to be armed.”


(third report: 12:20 p.m. - April 5, 2023)

MISSOULA - Hellgate High School in Missoula remains under lockdown on Wednesday afternoon following several social media threats.

The Missoula Police Department is asking that people "stay clear of the area to ensure the investigation can be completed without interference."

An MPD social media post notes officers are "actively investigating and seeking persons of interest."

Some parents in the area have heard from their kids inside and they say they are safe but still in full lockdown.

Several streets in the area of Hellgate High School remained closed to traffic.

No injuries have been reported as a result of the ongoing incident, according to Missoula PD.

As a result of the threat, all Missoula County Public Schools remain in a "soft-perimeter lockdown" and students are not being allowed outside.

Additionally, the situation prompted Lolo School into a perimeter lockdown as a precautionary measure.


(second report: 11:02 a.m. - April 5, 2023)

MISSOULA - Police are on the scene inside and outside Hellgate High School.

Missoula Police Department spokeswoman Whitney Bennett tells MTN News the school was locked down due to a threat made over social media.

An investigation into the incident is continuing.

A message sent to MCPS parents states that "out of an abundance of caution all MCPS schools are in soft-perimeter lockdown."


Students are not being let outside at this time.

MCPS sent the following email to parents:

Families may have heard that Hellgate High School is in lockdown. Out of an abundance of caution, all MCPS schools are in a soft perimeter lock-in. The normal school day will continue as usual inside our buildings. Students will not be let outside for lunch, recess or other activities. More information will be shared when it is available.

The University of Montana Police Department (UMPD) issued an alert stating they are monitoring the situation and "currently there is no action needed on campus."

The Lolo School District sent a message to parents stating they are also under a perimeter lockdown until further notice. The message also states the move is a precautionary measure and that no threats have been made against Lolo School.


(first report: 10:50 a.m. - April 5, 2023)

MISSOULA - Hellgate High School has been locked down.

Missoula County Public Schools (MCPS) is asking families not to approach the school at this time.

MCPS spokeswoman Tyler Christensen tells MTN News that students and staff are safe at this time.

Developing story. Check back for updates.