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A series of schools across Florida were experiencing “swatting” calls alleging an active school shooter, causing multiple lockdowns. On Tuesday morning, October 11, many schools in the south Florida area went under lockdowns in response to multiple 911 calls. Schools in the Broward County and neighboring regions were following safety instructions to multiple active shooter calls. Tuesday afternoon, the calls continued in the Tampa Bay area. Turns out all of the calls made were a hoax. 

These fake emergency calls are also known as “swatting.” This harassment tactic involves deceiving 911 operators into sending police to an unexpecting address. This can be extremely harmful and a waste of resources. “Whether it is a few minutes or hours, it involves our officers responding to the scene, EMS, paramedics. So, all of those resources that have been used, could be used for something else,” said Robin Tillett, spokesperson for the Lakeland Police Department.

Fox 13 News reported that the first call came in around 9 a.m., with someone reporting an adult male shooter in body armor at Miami Central High School. Moments later, Ronald Reagan Senior High School in Doral received a similar call. Three more schools in the south Florida region received similar calls. Lockdowns were put in place as a precaution. Once law enforcement arrived and swept the entire campus, they realized it was a hoax.

According to WTVJ, Miami-Dade police said their 911 call center traced one of the calls from outside the U.S.

These calls continued into the afternoon to some Tampa Bay schools. Police and deputies had a visible presence outside schools in Pinellas and Sarasota counties. Dispatchers got a call that students had been hurt in a shooting at St. Petersburg Catholic. But after searching the premises twice, officers found no injured students, staff, or a shooter.