Plattsburgh, NY – The report of an active shooter on the Plattsburgh High School campus Thursday was part of a “swatting” scheme aimed at drawing a large police response to a false threat, state and local police said.
Plattsburgh police say they received a call shortly after 9:30 a.m. warning of armed intruder in a school bathroom. Officers from Plattsburgh, Vermont State Police as well as deputies from Clinton County Sheriff’s Department responded and began to search the campus.
“By the time we actually started searching all the rooms with armed officers to secure it, I would say it took us half an hour,” said Plattsburgh Police Chief Nathan “Bud” York. “It wasn’t real long, it wasn’t short, but it wasn’t real long.”
After searching the school, the threat was dismissed as false. Students were given the option to leave for the day or remain in class. School officials made counseling available, and police kept a closer eye on the campus for the rest of the day.
“There are not only police officers rushing to get there, you’ve got alarmed parents that may have heard about it,” York said. “They’re rushing to get there, school administrators are rushing to get there if they’re not there already. There’s a lot of anxious kids in school, anxiety when they don’t know what’s going on. So it causes all kinds of problems.”
New York State Trooper Brandi Ashley said schools across the state — including in Potsdam, Malone, Canton and Albany — received the same threat, all of which drew an emergency response from local police departments.
“This is a swatting hoax,” she said. “This is affecting school districts across the country.
The Lamoille County Sheriff Department said it received “a threat” late Wednesday night, but police and school officials determined it was not credible
In early February, more than 20 schools across Vermont were victims of a swatting scheme that threatened with shootings and other violence. According to state police, the calls likely originated from Voice over Internet Protocol, or VOIP, phone numbers or fake 802 numbers and “appear to be associated with ongoing nationwide hoax phone threats of school shootings, bomb threats, and other violent events that have proved to be unfounded.”