Police respond to hoax shooting reports at multiple Florida schools

The FBI has warned about swatting, saying it's a federal crime.

October 12, 2022, 7:20 PM

Police departments in Florida responded to "swatting" calls at multiple high schools on Tuesday.

Swatting is a hoax where someone calls emergency services and reports a nonexistent crime to get law enforcement officials -- generally a SWAT team -- to show up to an address.

Boca Raton police said they responded to reports of an armed person at Boca Raton High School.

Multiple schools across Florida have received reports of a shooting that have turned out to be hoaxes.

Upon arriving at and checking the school, officers determined there wasn't a shooting or a shooter on the school's campus and said that nothing suspicious was found.

Police in Pembroke Pines, Florida, also responded to a swatting call at Flanagan High School on Tuesday, Pembroke Pines Police Department said on Twitter.

"Our search of the school has been completed. No evidence of any crime was found," Pembroke police said. "At this time, this incident appears to be a result of swatting. Our investigation into the initial call remains on-going."

Miami-Dade Public Schools said that schools in its district were also subject to swatting pranks, urging parents to have a discussion with their kids about the illegal activity.

"We have a ZERO-TOLERANCE policy for this type of activity. A prank threat against a school is deemed a federal crime that can lead to arrest & a felony record," the school district tweeted. "Parents, speak to your children about the life-long consequences."

Multiple schools across Florida have received reports of a shooting that have turned out to be hoaxes.

In a statement to ABC News, a spokesperson for FBI Tampa said it was aware of the numerous swatting incidents and investigating the events.

"While we have no information to indicate a specific and credible threat, we continue to work with our local, state, and federal law enforcement partners to gather, share, and act upon threat information as it comes to our attention," FBI Tampa said. "We urge the public to remain vigilant, and report any and all suspicious activity and/or individuals to law enforcement immediately."

In 2019, a man was sentenced to 20 years in federal prison for making a prank call to Wichita, Kansas, police, resulting in officers going to a home and fatally shooting 28-year-old Andrew Finch, a father of two, in December 2017.

Last month, over a dozen states, including Florida, reported incidents of hoax calls to 911 about active shooters in schools, resulting in the FBI's involvement.

The FBI has warned about the practice, saying it's a federal crime.

"The FBI takes swatting seriously because it puts innocent people at risk," the FBI told ABC News last month, adding that it will investigate every threat.

ABC News' Phil Lipof contributed to this report.