St. Louis County dealing with ‘swatting’ calls at numerous schools, no active threats

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Published: Feb. 28, 2023 at 12:41 PM CST
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DULUTH, MN. (Northern News Now) - The St. Louis County Sheriff’s Office says it has received multiple reports of “swatting” at several schools across the region Tuesday, but they say they are not dealing with any active threats of violence at this time.

According to the St Louis County Sheriff’s Office, their 911 Division received several calls during the noon hour in reference to school shootings.

These calls were determined by police to be false in what has become known as “swatting”.

“Swatting” is when someone makes a prank call to emergency services in an attempt draw a large number of armed police officers to a particular address.

According to St. Louis County Sheriff’s spokespeople, the “swatting” calls were directed to media outlets and police departments across the area, including beyond St. Louis County.

Sheriff’s office spokespeople say they received reports from the Ely School District, Eveleth, and Duluth Denfeld.

Though some of the calls have a 218 area code, they appear to have originated outside of the area.

In their case, Duluth School District spokespeople said they believe there is no credible threat as the call came from out of state.

“As a precaution we have decided to close off-campus lunch today and keep all students in the building,” district spokespeople said. “With the presence of Duluth Police Officers and these precautions we feel students and staff are safe at this time.”

In Ely, police reported threats to Washington Elementary School but found no active threats. The Ely Police Department had officers posted at school for the remainder of the day as precaution, but it is believed there was no credible threat to staff or students.

In other areas, Austin and Albert Lea schools received similar calls Monday as well as the Target in Fargo over the weekend.

Police say there is no active threat.

The Bureau of Criminal Apprehension’s Minnesota Fusion Center (MNFC) say the calls appear to come from the same individual who used Voice Over IP to make the calls directly from a computer.

The MNFC sent an alert to law enforcement across Minnesota for their situational awareness

This is a developing story. Check back for updates.