WYOMING (ABC4) — Multiple high schools in Wyoming were placed under lockdown on Monday, April 3, following reports of an active shooter on campus, which were later proven by authorities to be false. These incidents occurred less than a week after five Utah high schools were hit with similar school shooting hoaxes.
Rock Springs High School, Natrona County High School and South High School in Cheyenne were the three schools that had been impacted by fake calls about an active shooter Monday morning. Surrounding schools were also placed under lockdown as a safety precaution.
In all three cases, area first responders were dispatched to secure and clear school buildings immediately. Officials later determined there was no threat to students and staff.
“From the onset, there appeared to be indications that the originating report was unfounded and that the report was consistent with similar hoax situations that have been occurring nationwide,” said Natrona County officials.
The series of school shooting hoaxes in Wyoming is reminiscent of an incident where five schools in Utah — Ogden High, West High, Spanish Fork High, Provo High, and Box Elder High — all received calls of shots fired on school grounds on Wednesday, March 29. Authorities quickly determined those calls were false and unfounded.
“Mulitple hoax calls have claimed active shooter situations in various schools throughout the state,” stated a release from the Utah Department of Public Safety. “These calls are taken very seriously and are immediately looked at by law enforcement agencies. We ask the public to please stay calm as our local law enforcement partners have not verified the validity of these accusations and we are currently looking into the origin of these calls.
Additionally, at least four schools in Pennsylvania also fell victim to these school shooting hoaxes, which Pennsylvania State Police have confirmed to be “swatting” calls — fake calls meant to draw a large police presence.
The phone number used to make the fake shooting calls in Utah was reportedly traced to a foreign IP address, according to the Utah Department of Public Safety.
Per Utah state law, calling in a fake school shooting is punishable as a misdemeanor, but anyone caught could be forced to pay for any expenses or losses incurred by first responders being called to the scenes. However, perpetrators of school shooting hoaxes could also face federal charges, which could include prison time.