Law enforcement agencies across the state responded to more than a dozen unfounded reports of school shootings, prompting several buildings to lock down on Wednesday.
ROCHESTER, Minn. – Schools and law enforcement agencies across Minnesota were the target of a massive “swatting” campaign Wednesday, where numerous false calls were made about active shooters.
In Rochester, police confirmed a call came in shortly after 10 a.m. reporting a shooter and said the call came through an Internet-connected phone with an area code different from the city’s 507. Dozens of policemenOlmsted County sheriff representatives and additional first responders rushed to the scene, only to discover the report was untrue.
Rochester Police Chief Jim Franklin told reporters: “Incidents of this kind when real are probably some of the most horrific and horrifying things someone can have to deal with in their career. “There was a sigh of relief that no one was hurt, no one was harmed and this is not real.”
Similar scenarios played out at Washburn High School in Minneapolis, plus schools in Austin, Alexandria, Cloquet, Mankato, New Ulm and St. Paul with valuable resources deployed after reports of an active shooter. Fortunately, all of those messages are also bogus, perhaps part of an organized effort targeting schools and communities around the country.
“Unfortunately, disruptive prank calls like this have become a national trend. States like Texas, Virginia and California have reported numerous calls of active fake shooters or events. mass casualties at schools,” St. Paul said in a statement in response to a report of a fake shooting at Johnson High School. “This incident at Johnson High School is suspected to be part of that trend and is being investigated by Saint Paul Police.”
Mankato Director of Public Safety Amy Vokal confirmed: “We’ve noticed other cities in the area receiving similar calls using the exact same wording and that seems to reflect what happened. out in the last five days in the national media,” Mankato Director of Public Safety Amy Vokal confirmed in response to a local school.
The Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Investigation (BCA) has confirmed at least 14 schools in the following cities received false reports of an active shooter Wednesday: Minneapolis, New Ulm, Mankato Fairmont, St. Paul, Rochester, Alexandria, Cloquet, Austin, Fergus Falls, Brainard, Rosemount, Grand Rapids and Bemidji. The agency sent out a warning telling school districts, staff and students that the calls appeared to be what was called corrosionwhere a prank call is made in an attempt to trigger a law enforcement response to a particular address.
“(BCA) is aware of multiple concussion incidents involving ongoing shooting events or mass casualties at schools across Minnesota. Local law enforcement is responding. None which incident turned out to be real”. read warning. “Our Minnesota Consolidation Center is monitoring these reports and keeping local law enforcement informed of the situation. States across the US have experienced similar mass crackdown efforts. .”
Drew Evans, director of the Minnesota BCA, said the FBI is monitoring the incidents in conjunction with local agencies.
“This is a huge deal and it’s extremely disappointing for us to see this activity,” Evans said. “Unfortunately, in the United States, we’ve had too many cases of actual shooters operating in our schools and communities. So when this happens, it creates panic. extreme fear in our schools and communities, from all the parents who bring their children to school every day in a safe environment.”
Evans explained that based on similar voices and tone when making calls, it appears they are coming from an individual using an internet number.
The BCA reminds students and staff at schools to notify local law enforcement of threats to eavesdropping or suspected schools. They can also contact the BCA through dealer’s “See It Say It” app.
“The cause of panic and alarm that this can cause in our communities and parents is very important and for that reason, we must treat this very seriously,” Evans said. seriously,” Evans said.
Someone found guilty of peeing can be sentenced to one year in prison, a $3,000 fine, or both. If someone is injured or killed as a result of a violent call, that becomes a felony and the person responsible could receive a 10-year prison sentence.
Minnesota is not alone in dealing with what appears to be a growing epidemic. Threats, or lies about threats, are being made to schools across the country, leading to lockdowns, check-ins, police exposure and panicking parents.
Last week USA Today found 30 fake shooters active or threatening violence in schools across the country. They have occurred in Texas, California, Florida, Arkansas, Oregon, Illinois, Kansas and Oklahoma, and Minnesota can now be added to that suspicious list.
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