At least five schools in New Jersey hit by swatting calls: Police investigating whether a single person is responsible
- At least six New Jersey high schools were victims of swatting calls on Friday
- Text messages from a foreign number reported school shootings
- The texts were sent around 10am and police quickly identified them as hoaxes
At least five New Jersey high schools fell victim to swats on Friday — an increasingly widespread trend of unnecessary police response caused by false reports of violence or shootings.
Many of the false reports received in schools across New Jersey appear to have come via text messages from an overseas cell phone, raising concerns that the same swat was behind all the phone calls.
At around 9:45 a.m., someone called Weequahic High School reporting that a “man had injured ten people with a long gun,” RLS Media reported.
The swatting attacks took place at at least six schools across the state and appear to have taken place within a period of about 30 minutes.
No one was injured, but slapping phone calls is particularly dangerous because those targeted can mistake the police for an intruder, react aggressively and be injured or even killed as a result.
Weequahic High School and Barnegat High School
Schools targeted by the attacks include Hamilton, Barnegat, Weequahic, East Brunswick, Toms River North and Jackson Liberty high schools.
Toms River Police posted a tweet at 11 a.m. stating that their officers had responded to a call about a “possible shooting” at High School North.
“The call was deemed unfounded and is under investigation as a swatting incident, there is no active threat,” they wrote.
East Brunswick Public Schools Superintendent Victor Valeski said in a statement: “Our 911 police operator received a call reporting an incident at our high school that required immediate police assistance.
“This justified a major police action in the high school and the building was immediately given ‘Shelter in Place’ status.”
East Brunswick High and Jackson Liberty High School
Toms River High School North and Hamilton High School
Berkley Townships School District took action, saying in an announcement on their Facebook page that “students will remain in the buildings as a precaution” on Friday.
Swatting is considered dangerous because it can divert important law enforcement attention from where it is most needed.
This wave of attacks in New Jersey comes just days after a cluster of schools were similarly targeted in South Florida.
Those calls coincided with the opening of closing arguments for the trial of Parkland gunman Nicholas Cruz, who, according to the jury, would receive a life sentence without parole instead of death.