Multiple Minnesota schools receive false active shooter calls
(ABC 6 News) – Following a law enforcement response at Rochester Lourdes High School Sept. 21, ABC 6 News confirmed that multiple schools in our coverage area received what seem to be false calls about active shooters.
The Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension reported the Minnesota Fusion Center is tracking the reports and is “keeping local law enforcement apprised of the situation.” As of Wednesday afternoon, the agency said at least 14 communities had confirmed swatting incidents, with others possibly still unaccounted for.
Other communities that had confirmed swatting incidents Wednesday, according to the BCA, are:
- New Ulm
- Fergus Falls
- Grand Rapids
Additionally, St. Cloud police and Albert Lea Area Schools confirmed swatting incidents.
Austin Public Schools locked down between 11:20 a.m. and 12:22 p.m. while local law enforcement investigated the calls.
There was no evidence of an active shooter, and no injuries were reported.
Austin police chief David McKichan said APD was aware of similar calls in the SE MN area, but “it did not alter (their) response to this type of call.”
“It is unfortunate that during a week dedicated to homecoming festivities in Austin that this occurred,” McKichan said. “We do believe this may be linked to other similar incidents in our state today and that our caller was likely not from our community. We will dedicate additional resources towards school safety throughout the day and the remainder of the week.”
Albert Lea police confirmed that the high school also received an internet-based call which prompted a law enforcement response Wednesday morning.
The Minnesota BCA says there have been multiple false active shooter threats to schools across the state Wednesday morning.
We are aware of multiple swatting incidents involving active shooter events or mass casualties at schools across Minnesota. Local law enforcement are responding. No incidents have turned out to be real.— Minnesota BCA (@MnDPS_BCA) September 21, 2022
An investigation will be launched to determine who was behind the phone hoax.
Mayo High School went into lockdown Wednesday morning for unrelated reasons, after a student told building leaders they saw a person with a gun driving in the school’s parking lot.
According to Rochester Public Schools, the person the student saw was a law enforcement officer responding to Lourdes, who briefly stopped near Mayo.
Mayo High School resumed its normal schedule by 11:50 a.m.
“We are extremely pleased with the student who reported the situation to building leaders,” Rochester Public Schools said in a statement. “We are all safer when individuals say something when they see something.”