SYRACUSE, N.Y. (WSYR-TV) — The New York State Police have been made aware of several fake shooting calls, also known as swatting, that are being sent out to schools on Thursday, March 30.
In New York State, 14 different cities and towns with multiple schools received them on Thursday. Locally, Cicero-North Syracuse High School and Westhill High School have received these calls.
NewsChannel 9’s Ashley Cafaro live at Westhill
Westhill’s Superintendent, Steve Dunham, said that the high school was in a “Lock Out”, but has since been lifted.
Classes at Westhill will be resuming, but parents are allowed to pick up their kids if they would like.
9-1-1, Geddes Police, Taunton Fire Department and EMTs were at the incident.
Cicero-North Syracuse High School
According to Onondaga County Sheriff Toby Shelley, the fake swatting call happened at 10:30 a.m.
“Westhill was a little bit longer. The Sheriff’s Office doesn’t have people at Westhill. In North Syracuse, we have 4 deputies there assigned there. They heard the call go out. They were able to confirm quickly that there was no shooting,” said Sheriff Shelley.
Sheriff Shelley said the false 911 report came in that said there was a shooting at the high school and that call was picked up by local law enforcement and the school was put into immediate lockdown.
“It was a false 911 call, I hear the term swatting a lot, and apparently it’s happening across the state. Today, there are some other schools that have received the same call. So, you know, as a parent, it’s scary. It’s certainly scary for our students, for our staff, for our families who don’t know what’s necessarily happening. And it’s infuriating,” said Sheriff Shelley. “I certainly hope we find the perpetrator, not only who made the false report here at Westhill, but in other schools around the state as well. We have to do better, as a community, and as a society, in terms of school safety, gun violence, and just making sure we’re taking care of our kids.”
Both the call at Westhill and C-NS High School were traced to Canada.
What is swatting?
It is when someone makes a fake or prank call to get emergency services to respond, in large quantities, to a place or address. So in this case, schools.
There has been a string of these hoax phone calls going out across the country since Monday, March 27, in the wake of the recent Nashville shooting.
Other areas of New York receiving them are:
- Hudson Valley
It’s not only New York that has received false swatting calls this week as dozens of schools in Massachusetts, Pennslyvania and now New York have received these calls.
After false swatting calls were made in Pennslyvania on Wednesday, the FBI made a statement saying, “The FBI takes swatting very seriously because it puts innocent people at risk.”
New York State Police tweeted that all of the reports that have been made so far have been unfounded.
Alert: days after the Nashville shooting, police are dealing with fake threats known as swatting. Sadly, valuable police resources are busy responding to these bogus calls. https://t.co/MyMlwkkCNc
— Ryan Dean (@RyanDeanTV) March 30, 2023
“We are working alongside our local and federal partners to investigate the threats,” said NYSP in a tweet.