Around 5:30 Tuesday night, Lackawanna Police responded to reports of shots fired. Officials say four suspects fled in two cars heading toward Hamburg on South Park Avenue.
After the cars crashed near Abbott Road, the suspects took off by foot. This led to Hamburg and Lackawanna Police issuing a CodeRED Alert and asking people to shelter in place.
After searching the surrounding area and not finding the suspects, the CodeRED was called off.
"So while they didn't walk away with people in handcuffs, they felt that after they thoroughly sanitized the area that they felt very confident that they were no longer in the area and no longer posed a threat," said Sean Crotty, the Town of Hamburg Emergency Services Manager. "Until that decision was made, we just asked for the public's assistance and shelter in place."
He says the alerts, whether received by a phone call, text message or push alert from an app, is not meant to scare people but to directly release the information they can share at the moment.
"What happens a lot of times is, we have dynamic instances such as this where we have a lot of manpower saturating an area, where we have an aircraft hovering over head, we have canines running around, through people's yards," Crotty said. "People get panic stricken and call 911, which also taxes our 911 system. (A CodeRED alert) serves as an opportunity to inform the public that hey, this is what's going on, this is what we need you to do and this is how you can help us."
For those wondering why they didn't receive a CodeRED alert, there could be a few reasons:
If you haven't enrolled your landline, cellphone number or email, you can do so on the Town of Hamburg Emergency Services website.
Crotty says text messages aren't always utilized because of character restrictions, and sometimes too little information is worse than none.
You can also receive alerts from the CodeRED app, ensuring both your location services and push alerts are turned on. The app will also let you choose what it sends you and for which locations.
"You can set the parameters to be 25 miles away or as little as one mile away. So someone that was 25 miles away yesterday, if their settings were set for that, they would've received the alert, the same alert that residents physically in that area received," Crotty said.
If you do prefer to receive calls, make sure you're not blocking it, as it does come up as a 1-800 number.