Expecting Dad Celebrating Gender Reveal With Gunfire Forces 3 Schools Into Lockdown

A gender reveal celebration caused three Tennessee schools to go into lockdown on Wednesday.

The incident unfolded around 1:30 in the afternoon when a Murfreesboro resident called 911 after hearing multiple gunshots and a scream. Officers with the Murfreesboro Police Department locked down the surrounding area, which included schools, as a precaution as they investigated.

The schools that went into lockdown were John Pittard Elementary, which is part of the Murfreesboro City Schools system, as well as Oakland High School and Oakland Middle School in Rutherford County.

James Evans, a spokesman for Rutherford County Schools, told Newsweek that a precautionary lockdown is "standard procedure any time there is police activity in the area."

"Rumors of an active shooter at local school are incorrect," the police department said in a statement posted to its Twitter page on Wednesday. "There was a situation that did not involve any schools."

Police found out the situation involved expectant parents who were informing relatives from out of town about the gender of their baby. During the phone call, the father-to-be stepped outside and fired "celebratory rounds" from a handgun into the air while the mother-to-be "screamed out of excitement," authorities said.

The family is expecting a baby boy, according to the police.

"Officers have cited the father with unlawful discharge of a firearm inside the city limits," the police said, adding that "the lockdown was quickly lifted at the schools."

Larry Flowers, a spokesperson for the Murfreesboro Police Department, told Newsweek that there was a language barrier between the man and officers. A translator from the Middle Tennessee State University assisted law enforcement in explaining to the expecting dad that he couldn't fire his handgun in his backyard, which is within city limits.

"He had no intent to harm anyone," Flowers said.

In Tennessee, it's unlawful for any person to discharge a firearm within 600 feet of any home, building or other structure designed for occupancy.

Facebook users responded to the incident after the Murfreesboro Police Department posted its statement on the social media platform.

"Good grief with the gender reveal madness!" one person wrote. Another user responded, "When a gender reveal goes all wrong!"

One person quipped, "Can we take bets on what they will name the baby....Hunter, Colton....maybe Gunner?"

Gender Reveal With Gunfire Prompts School Lockdowns
A gender reveal celebration involving gunshots caused three Tennessee schools to go into lockdown on Wednesday. Above, police tape surrounds a crime scene in Chicago on June 23. Scott Olson/Getty Images

Last month, a New Hampshire man pleaded guilty to a charge stemming from an explosion that happened during a gender reveal party in April. The blast was heard by nearby residents in both New Hampshire and Massachusetts.

The gender reveal party took place near a quarry—a location those hosting the event felt would be safe for detonating the device—but a nearby home's doorbell camera captured the structure shaking from the impact and the sound of the explosion.

The Associated Press reported that Anthony Spinelli of Kingston pleaded guilty to a charge of disorderly conduct and paid a fine of $620. No one was injured in the incident, which involved 80 pounds of the binary explosive Tannerite.

Update (9/2/2021, 1:30 p.m. ET): This story has been updated to include comments from the Rutherford County Schools system and the Murfreesboro Police Department.