By: Suzie Glassman/NewsBreak Denver
(Castle Rock, CO) Multiple schools across Colorado went into lockdown today as a series of hoax threats flooded into at least eight school districts Wednesday morning. These hoaxes are known as swatting, a term for when someone makes a prank call to the police claiming an emergency and provides a real address for officers.
Unconfirmed threats were reported in Boulder, Brighton, Pitkin County, Canon City, Estes Park, Englewood, Glenwood Springs, Alamos, and more.
In one of the calls, the caller played gunfire in the background and threatened to attack Central High School in Aurora, Aurora Police confirmed.
Boulder Valley school district evacuated Boulder High School after reports of an active shooter, notifying parents to pick up their students at a reunification spot. All classes and after-school activities were canceled.
Colorado’s second-largest school district, Jefferson County, sent an email to parents saying that while they hadn’t received any threats, they were aware of a series of swatting incidents in various Colorado school districts.
“What we do know is that all of these situations, whether real or false, are distressing and strip away the sense of security in our schools and communities,” said Jeff Pierson, JeffCO executive director of school safety.
FBI releases statement
The Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Denver office released a statement saying,
“FBI Denver is aware of numerous threats made today to a variety of organizations and institutions across Colorado. The FBI works closely with its law enforcement partners by providing resources and guidance in these investigations and can recommend cases for federal prosecution. While we have no information at this time to indicate a specific and credible threat, we 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.
It is important to note that law enforcement will use all available resources to investigate a threat until we determine whether it is real or not. Investigating hoax threats drains law enforcement resources and diverts officers from responding to an actual crisis. More information about the consequences of posting hoax threats can be found on fbi.gov. We urge the public to remain vigilant, and report any and all suspicious activity and/or individuals to law enforcement immediately.”
According to the FBI, “Issuing a threat—even over social media, via text message, or through e-mail—is a federal crime (threatening interstate communications). Those who post or send these threats can receive up to five years in federal prison, or they can face state or local charges.”
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