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Multiple Minnesota schools targeted by “swatting” hoax

22 September 2022

MINNEAPOLIS — Fake reports of violence and threats have students and parents on edge across the country, including in Minnesota.

On Wednesday, the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension said it became aware of multiple “swatting” incidents in schools across the state where fake reports were received of active shooter events or mass casualties. Fourteen swatting incidents were confirmed by Wednesday afternoon, but the BCA says it’s possible there were more they have yet to hear about.

Initially, the BCA confirmed 15 swatting incidents but clarified the threat at Rosemount had occurred days earlier but was just reported to the agency on Wednesday.

“No incidents have turned out to be real,” the BCA said.

Authorities say they believe a single person or group made the calls, because they were all similar in nature.

In the Twin Cities, there were reports of fake threats at Washburn High School in Minneapolis and Johnson Senior High School in St. Paul. Again, no threat or weapons were found.

“Unfortunately, disruptive prank calls such as this have become a national trend. States like Texas, Virginia, and California have reported multiple calls of fake active shooter or mass casualty events at schools,” St. Paul police said.

FBI Minneapolis says it is aware of the numerous swatting incidents.

“The FBI takes swatting very seriously because it puts innocent people at risk,” the statement said. “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.”

Officials with the Rochester school district said Lourdes High School was also hit. There were similar reports from St. Cloud, Bemidji, Cloquet and New Ulm. Some of the schools initiated lockdowns while law enforcement responded.

Anoka-Hennepin Public Schools, Brainerd Public Schools and South Washington County Schools say they have not received fake reports Wednesday.

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Communities affected by “swatting” incidents, according to the BCA.

CBS

The Minnesota BCA is investigating.

“Our Minnesota Fusion Center is tracking these reports and keeping local law enforcement apprised of the situation,” the agency said.

Early Wednesday evening, the University of Minnesota’s Coffman Memorial Union in Minneapolis was evacuated due to a possible bomb threat after police “responded to a suspicious person in the building.” University officials and the BCA say this doesn’t appear to be related to the swatting incidents.

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Author: WCCO Staff

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