(WJET/WFXP/YourErie.com) — Schools throughout Pennsylvania have been receiving “swatting” threat calls made to 911 centers involving alleged active shooter or bomb threats at schools, prompting the FBI to issue a statement.
Several schools throughout the state were impacted by the “swatting” threats, including Erie, Meadville, Pittsburgh, and Altoona, among others.
Law enforcement were able to determine the 911 calls were a hoax and that false reports of active shooters have been occurring at schools throughout the state of Pennsylvania.
Erie High School was on a lockdown Wednesday morning due to a “swatting” incident.
According to the Erie’s Public Schools Facebook page, a 911 call caused Erie High School to go on lockdown at 10:45 a.m. Wednesday. No threat was identified. The lockdown lasted less than one hour, and instruction continued.
The Meadville City Police also responded to a false report of an active shooter at the Meadville Area Senior High School Wednesday morning, according to the City of Meadville Facebook page. All the buildings have been cleared at this time.
Pennsylvania State Police reports that all calls are being thoroughly investigated and responded to by law enforcement. PSP reports the claims in these calls have been determined to be false at this time.
FBI Pittsburgh issued a statement on the “swatting” calls: “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.”
The FBI asks that anyone who receives a swatting threat or information that an individual is planning to engage in swatting, to report it to local law enforcement and the FBI at 1-800-CALL-FBI immediately.
All schools involved have been cleared or are in the process of being cleared by law enforcement.
A release from Erie’s Public Schools and the City of Erie confirmed the series of calls about a shooting at Erie High School were false. The calls were part of a statewide hoax where similar calls were made to Pennsylvania school districts and businesses.
“As far as we know, today’s false alarm locally affected only Erie High School. But it is our understanding that across the state, both schools and businesses have been targeted by these bogus calls,” said Chief Dan Spizarny, City of Erie Police Department in the release.
“We are grateful to our school district and city police officer for their quick response, and to the staff of Erie High School for keeping our students safe during the lockdown,” said Brian Polito, superintendent, Erie’s Public Schools. “We will continue to work with law enforcement as the investigation continues.”