Law enforcement: caller used dangerous ‘swatting’ tactic

Raleigh County Schools was one of many targeted Wed. in W.Va.
Swatting, a new trend of prank calling leaves law enforcement and Independence High School the...
Swatting, a new trend of prank calling leaves law enforcement and Independence High School the target.(Jamie Leigh Reichert)
Published: Dec. 7, 2022 at 8:03 PM EST
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RALEIGH COUNTY, W.Va. (WVVA) - On the morning of Wed. Dec. 7th, schools in at least 12 counties in W.W.Va received threats, which were deemed to be hoaxes. Independence High School in Raleigh County was one of those schools.

Officers with Raleigh County Sheriff’s Office say the threats are being made in the form of swatting, which is a popular trend going around on social media.

Swatting is done through prank calls. It involves trying to get law enforcement and SWAT teams to show up unannounced.

“We want to ensure everyone that as always, we are working with our local law enforcement agencies that all of our students and schools are safe. Again, it appears these calls are false threats, but we will continue to take it seriously and to take appropriate steps to ensure the safety of our schools,” said Davide Price, Superintendent of Raleigh County Schools.

The Raleigh County Sheriff’s Office sent patrols out to schools to check on the possible threat.

“This call took place in rapid sequence to several schools in several counties. Those schools were cleared and deemed to be free of any threats. The caller then continued to make calls to other schools in Raleigh County, In other counties, and actually in other states. Trying to illicit the same response,” said Chief Dep. Jim Canaday with the Raleigh County Sheriff’s Office.

It’s a game to the caller that can end up deadly. On Wed., Raleigh County officers say they were the target of another swatting prank call that could have ended badly.

“We received information early this morning through our state and local intelligent sources that there had been a series of swatting calls which was basically and individual calling in to try to illicit a response,” said Chief Dep. Canaday. “With this instance it was with the treat of school violence. The caller had said that he was at the school and that there was a school shooting and that he was in a closet. He has actually contacted hospitals out of the county to advise them of the school shooting.”

Some parents also took their children out of school just to be on the safe side.

“I think regardless of the school, as a parent you are nervous and concerned about what is going on. I think youth violence is one of the biggest issues in America today. It’s something as a parent we blow off. We are always like ‘not in our community, not in our hometown, but it’s something that needs to be taken seriously, and it happens all the time anymore,” said Matt Withrow, parents of an Independence High School students.

There is still an ongoing investigation as to where the call(s) originated.

Fake threats were also made in Mercer County Wed. as well. To learn more, go here.

To learn more about swatting, go here.