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CONYERS — Those responsible for starting a panic at the Heritage High and Salem High football game Friday night have not yet been identified, but the investigation is continuing, according to Rockdale Public Schools officials.

Claims that shots were being fired at the Friday night football game led the Rockdale County Sheriff’s Office and school officials to evacuate Evans Memorial Stadium and eventually end the game early. It was eventually determined that the claims were a hoax.

Heritage was hosting Salem in a county rivalry game Friday night when deputies learned gunfire had been reported, the Sheriff’s Office reported. Shortly after the third quarter started, deputies evacuated the stands and searched the stadium and determined it was safe. Because it was past halftime, school leaders decided to end the game, according to a spokesperson for Rockdale Public Schools. At the time the game was stopped, Heritage was winning 18-0.

“We thank all of our law enforcement partners and our faculty and staff for their efforts to maintain a safe environment as false claims of gunfire were made during our football game tonight,” the Rockdale County School System said in a statement issued Friday. “We regret that someone chose to make these false claims causing panic in our stadium. There was no gun or gunfire at our game tonight. The safety of our students, staff, families, and community who attend our events is always our top priority. We will continue to work with law enforcement to provide safe events for all to enjoy and for our students to thrive.”

An investigation into the false claims is continuing.

Senior Reporter

Born and raised in Decatur, Ga. Graduated from Shorter College in Rome, Ga. in 1979 with B.A. in Communications. Worked in community newspapers for 26 years. Started at Rockdale Citizen/Newton Citizen in January 2016.