Minnesota schools were the latest victims of “swatting” incidents when they were locked down Wednesday over fake reports of active shooters, according to authorities.
The Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension said local law enforcement responded to calls about mass casualty events at multiple schools, however, “no incidents have turned out to be real.”
The BCA said the schools were “swatted” — a prank call about an emergency that is supposed to draw a large police response. Investigators believe all of the calls came from the same person.
Education Week, a website covering school issues, reported that swatting calls have affected schools in Arkansas, California, Colorado, Florida, Missouri and Texas.
Virginia schools in Loudoun County, Culpeper County and Spotsylvania County were also spammed with swatting calls earlier this week, according to InsideNoVa.com.
“Unfortunately, disruptive prank calls such as this have become a national trend,” Sgt. David McCabe told KSTP-TV, the local ABC affiliate in St. Paul, Minnesota. The city had one of the 15 schools that were hit by swatting calls statewide.
The prankster can suffer legal consequences for the chaos they create by phoning in a swatting call.
One caller faced manslaughter charges after an innocent man was shot and killed by police as a result of a swatting call in Wichita, Kansas, according to Education Week. The charges were later dropped by a plea agreement.