Florida schools see several 'hoax' swatting calls, forcing multiple lockdowns
Authorities in Florida responded to multiple calls reporting active shooters in schools, but they all turned out to be fake
Multiple schools went into lockdown across counties in Florida on Tuesday morning as police responded to false calls of active shooters.
Police dispatches in Miami-Dade, Broward, Palm Beach and Orange counties received 911-calls on Tuesday morning reporting mass shootings and gunmen wearing body armor. Later in the afternoon, schools in Hillsborough, Pinellas and Nicollet counties received 911-calls reporting mass shootings.
"Swatting" has become a growing issue across the U.S. in recent months. "Swatting" is making a hoax call to law enforcement in the hopes of deliberately causing a large police or SWAT team response.
Broward County Public Schools announced that county schools were placed on "secure status" while law enforcement investigated schools across the county.
Broward Police later announced that the threats "are believed to be unfounded."
Pinellas Park High School was on "lock-in" status while officers swept the campus.
Pinellas Park PD released a statement after the initial call came in, saying officers were investigating the apparent hoax:
"Currently, there are no known injuries and the police department does not believe there is a threat to students or the community at this time. It is believed this incident is a falsely reported threat. The police department will continue to investigate the origin of the initial report."
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At St. Petersburg Catholic in Pinellas County, police said dispatchers got a call that students had been hurt in a school shooting, but officers searched the premises twice and didn't find a shooter, or any hurt students or staff.
In Sarasota County, a "swatting" hoax call was made regarding Riverview High School. Officials there searched the campus, but had not found any evidence of a shooter.
Sarasota Public Schools said the lockdown was lifted after law enforcement determined the threat to be "unsubstantiated."
Boca Raton police said a report of an "armed subject" at Boca Raton Community High School turned out to be a false alarm and there was no danger to students or staff members.
The school was placed on a precautionary code red lockdown — meaning no one could enter or leave any buildings on campus — and officers searched the school.
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"At this time, nothing suspicious has been located," the police department tweeted, adding that "there is no evidence of a shooting or an armed subject on the campus."
Police eventually cleared the school at 10:23 a.m. and said "nothing suspicious was located."
In a statement Fox News Digital, the FBI said it is investigating the incidents.
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"The FBI is aware of 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," James Marshall said in a statement to Fox News Digital. "We urge the public to remain vigilant, and report any and all suspicious activity and/or individuals to law enforcement immediately."