At Least Six Michigan High Schools Have Received Bogus Gunfire Reports; Authorities Are Looking Into It

On Tuesday, February 7, police were summoned to at least six high schools in Michigan in response to fabricated claims of school shootings.

The schools are located in Portage, Saginaw, Okemos, Jackson, Ann Arbor, and Muskegon. To yet, no injuries have been reported at any of the schools. The calls were “the activities of a concerted campaign,” according to a release from MSP distributed to schools, and they were made to K–12 schools all around the state.

The caller had a thick accent and provided the name and address of the school, according to MSP, who noted that numerous organisations received identical reports. A student had shot another student, according to the caller, who identified themselves as an instructor at the institution. Next, the caller provided a room number, which was “found to not exist in the school,” MSP said.

Portage Northern High School received a “hoax” or “swatting” call, Portage Department of Public Safety Chief Nick Armold told WOOD TV-8. The school said it was the “victim of a prank” in a communication to parents.

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“We had units on scene within about 90 seconds, and probably, I would imagine within 30 seconds after that and conferring with school officials, we were able to ascertain it was a fake prank call,” Jeff VanderWiere, Deputy Director of Portage DPS, said. “Swatting” is the practise of fabricating a 911 call in order to summon a SWAT squad without cause.

Another report for Muskegon High School was received, according to officials in Muskegon. Tim Kozal, the chief of the Muskegon Police Department, described it as “a complete fraud” as well. The call came from an erratic number, most likely a Google number, Kozal told WOOD TV-8. Police in Battle Creek and Benton Harbor said that they were looking into similar hoaxed threats against schools.

At Least Six Michigan High Schools Have Received Bogus Gunfire Reports; Authorities Are Looking Into It
At Least Six Michigan High Schools Have Received Bogus Gunfire Reports; Authorities Are Looking Into It

At Okemos High School on Tuesday morning, there were numerous police officers present to the east of Lansing. Just after 9 a.m., according to the local police, a call regarding an active shooter was received. After searching the structure, they concluded that there was no present danger and gave the all-clear. Classes were cancelled for the day in Okemos.

Jackson High School received a virtually identical call, and the district reported it as a fake call from a “unknown Google number” on social media. The school added that police had given them the all-clear.

Jackson Public Schools expressed gratitude to police for responding quickly and claimed they were “on the scene within minutes of the phone call in full force with the utmost care and concern for the safety of our students and staff.”

MSP tweeted a warning on Tuesday stating that making such false claims is against the law. “Parents, this is a good time to remind the kids. Usually, after a large incident like this we get copycat calls for days following the incident. While some may consider it a joke, it is a good way to ruin your life if convicted of a false threat of terrorism.”

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Several police agencies responded to a shooting hoax at Nouvel Catholic Central High School, according to a report from ABC-12 in Saginaw. One teenager was detained just last week for “swatting” Jonesville Community Schools. She was detained on suspicion of conspiring to disseminate a terroristic threat, a crime punishable by 20 years in Michigan.

“Threats of violence in our schools disrupt the classroom, tax our local law enforcement agencies and harm our students’ sense of safety,” Dana Nessel, the attorney general of Michigan, issued a statement.

“Whether these are real threats made by those intent on doing harm or pranks made by kids trying to get a day off, they are real crimes with real consequences. It’s critical that adults and students alike understand the seriousness of these threats and the criminal charges they could face.”

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