Police: Multiple South Dakota schools targeted in round of ‘swatting calls’

Police: Multiple South Dakota schools targeted in round of ‘swatting calls’
Published: Oct. 13, 2022 at 10:34 AM CDT
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SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (Dakota News Now) - Multiple police departments across South Dakota received a round of “swatting calls” Thursday morning. A caller claimed an active shooter threatened local high schools as a hoax to draw a large police presence.

Officers responded to the Mitchell Senior High School, Lincoln High School, Brookings High School, Rapid City High School, and a school in Kingsbury County after receiving similar “swatting calls” while school was in session Thursday morning.

“A call like this, if you have an active shooter at a school, you’re going to have almost every law enforcement in the area that is responding to that,” said Sam Clemens, the public information officer for Sioux Falls.

The threat was relayed to officials at the respective high school calling for students to shelter-in-place, meaning all exterior doors are secured, and no one is allowed in or out of the building. Authorities on site checked the building for unusual activity, saying there was no threat to be found.

Detectives say the source of the call is listed out of the area and are working to identify the person behind the swatting calls. The Brookings Police Department report said the caller sounded like a “male with a foreign accent.”

A message from the Lincoln High School Superintendent, Dr. Jane Stavem, and the SFSD Safety Coordinator, Dave Osterquist, was sent to parents briefing them on the events that took place. The message said the swatting attempts are taking place across the country with the intent of tieing up law enforcement resources. The letter said the work by responding personnel worked efficiently, and the safety of students and staff would always be a priority.

Police spokesman Sam Clemens discusses in the video below how officers responded to the Lincoln High School and what detectives are doing to identify the person behind the “swatting call.”

While nothing came of this incident, parents were still fearful for their children and wished that there was better communication.

“I just wish there was a little bit more dialogue of what was happening prior to us even getting that there was a false report when we weren’t even acknowledged that there was a first report,” said a Lincoln High School parent.

An earlier version of this story included a map that identified schools that received the hoax. The map included Aberdeen. Aberdeen High School did not receive a hoax call, but Aberdeen Police did issue a statement saying they were monitoring the situation with all Aberdeen schools.  We regret the confusion.