LOCKPORT, N.Y. (WIVB) — New York State police say there were a series of swatting incidents across the state this week, including here in western New York. Police say “all of the reports are unfounded.”
“The State Police is aware of swatting incidents that have occurred across the state, in which a caller states that there is an active shooter in a school,” New York State police said. Swatting is an informal term defined by the Cambridge Dictionary as “the action of making a false report of a serious emergency so that a SWAT team will go to a person’s home, by someone who wants to frighten, upset or cause problems for that person.”
Police are investigating these suspicious calls. Locally, police were seen responding in Lockport and Buffalo Thursday morning. Lockport High School is currently under lockdown after a single call directed to the school took place. Lockport police say there were no 911 calls to dispatchers.
Further south into Erie County, police tell us there was call that led to a police response at South Park High School. “Buffalo police are investigating the incident at South Park High School and if it is linked to other swatting calls,” a city official tells News 4. K-9 teams searched the building near South Park Avenue around 10:45 a.m., during which a shelter-in-place procedure was in effect. No weapons were located, and police “believe it was a fake call,” city officials said.
Toward Rochester, Nexstar contributor WROC says Brockport Central Schools received a call like this. Brighton High School went into a “shelter-in-place procedure after being informed of a threat “pertaining to an active shooter,” WROC says.
The FBI is also looking into the swatting incidents across the state. They released the following statement during the morning: “The FBI is aware of the numerous swatting incidents wherein a report of an active shooter at a school is made. The FBI takes swatting very seriously because it puts innocent people at risk. While we have no information to indicate a specific and credible threat, we will continue to work with our local, state, and federal law enforcement partners to gather, share, and act upon threat information as it comes to our attention. We urge the public to remain vigilant, and report any and all suspicious activity and/or individuals to law enforcement immediately.”
Last month, police responded to calls about an alleged active shooter at another Buffalo school — Nichols. After looking into it, a police spokesperson later said the incident appears to have been another swatting incident. Around that time, police said at least three other schools in New York received similar calls. They were in Batavia, Steuben County and somewhere downstate. Even outside of New York, similar calls were coming in around that time. Buffalo Police Commissioner Joseph Gramaglia says they were also reported in Florida, Colorado and Kentucky.