'Shooter threat' shuts down Christian school in Pittsburgh; police investigate

An empty classroom is seen at Hollywood High School on August 13, 2020, in Hollywood, California. |

A Pittsburgh-area Christian school was closed Thursday due to what officials described as a “shooter threat.”

Imani Christian Academy, located in the East Hills neighborhood of Pittsburgh, was shut down as police investigated the threat.

According to CBS Pittsburgh, the threat against the private school was made via email Wednesday evening. No specific timing or other details were included, CBS reported.

Testing was scheduled for Thursday but is set to resume Friday, according to the school’s website.

The Christian Post's request for comment from Imani Christian Academy was not immediately returned.

Pittsburgh Public Safety spokesperson Cara Cruz told The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette that police were contacted late Wednesday night by the school's CEO about the shooting threat.

If the school decides to reopen Friday, Cruz assured police officers would be present to monitor the situation. 

Imani Christian Academy has over 150 students ranging from pre-kindergarten to 12th grade. The students come from more than a dozen low-income school districts in Allegheny County, according to its Facebook page. 

The school began in 1993 as a "faith-based alternative to a grossly under-resourced public school system struggling to serve low-income communities." The school initially grew from an initial roster of 30 students operating out of a single-family home. 

The school bills itself as one that provides "educational excellence in a safe, caring, learning, environment free of violence."

​Most of Imani's students are "African American inner-city youth," many of whom come from single-parent homes or are raised by a grandparent or guardian. The school seeks to give students "everyday exposure to positive role models" while tailoring "to the unique needs of African American students."

The shooting threat comes over three years after a mass shooting at the Tree of Life synagogue in the nearby Squirrel Hill neighborhood. A 15-minute drive from Imani Christian Academy, 11 people, including the perpetrator, were killed in the October 2018 attack on the synagogue. Meanwhile, seven others were injured.

In December 2021, four students were killed and seven were injured in a shooting at Oxford High School in Oxford, Michigan. Lawsuits were later filed against Oxford Community Schools, claiming that school staff was negligent by not acting on warning signs displayed by the shooter in the days leading up to the shooting. In February, the school district denied wrongdoing. 

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