At Least Four Southern Minnesota Schools Subject of Swatting Calls
Authorities in Mankato, Albert Lea and Austin also rushed to schools in their communities on what turned out to be false reports of an active shooting taking place. A statement from the Austin School District reported their buildings went into a lockdown after a bogus call of an active shooter came in around 11:20 a.m.
Albert Lea Area Schools said in a statement that law enforcement was aware of the calls going out across the country. They initiated a “soft lockdown” when the Freeborn County sheriff’s Office received a fake call depicting a shooting shortly before 11 a.m.
Mankato Public Safety said their officers responded to a false report of an active shooter at Mankato West High School around 10:30 a.m. Officials say there was no threat found after a sweep of the school.
There were also calls reported in the Twin Cities, St. Cloud, Alexandria, Fairmont and other communities. Rochester Police Chief Jim Franklin said the call that sent authorities to Lourdes High School came from an internet-generated phone number but had the voice of a real person.
The Minnesota BCA says at least 14 communities got swatting calls that prompted emergency responses from law enforcement. The BCA defines swatting as "making a prank call to law enforcement services in an attempt to bring a large law enforcement response to a particular address."