Multiple Mass. Schools Received ‘Swatting' Hoax Threats Tuesday, State Police Say

The unfounded calls were received just one day after the fatal school shooting in Nashville, Tennessee

Massachusetts State Police Cruiser Close Up
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Massachusetts State Police said they are aware of 28 communities that received unfounded "swatting" calls on Tuesday, including multiple calls to school districts in the western and southeastern parts of the state.

They said they are assisting in the response to the schools in some communities and the state Fusion Center is investigating the source of the calls with help from partner agencies.

The FBI said it is also aware of "numerous swatting incidents" and is involved in the investigation.

"While we have no information to indicate a specific and credible threat, we will 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," the FBI said in a statement. "We urge the public to remain vigilant, and report any and all suspicious activity and/or individuals to law enforcement immediately."

Foxborough, Mansfield and Westwood were three of the Massachusetts communities that received threats on Tuesday.

Foxborough school officials said they received a call at 8:51 a.m. reporting an active shooter at the high school. The source of the call remains unknown, but officials said they do not believe that it originated locally. Foxborough High School was briefly placed in lockdown by Foxborough police until they could conduct a sweep of the school and determine that there was no emergency.

"We understand that events like this can cause increased anxiety and we are here to support our school community," Foxborough school officials said in an email to parents.

Westwood police said they received a call Tuesday morning referring to "a possible active shooter" at Westwood High School but were also quickly able to determine that the threat was a hoax.

Mansfield police said they received a call around 8:43 a.m. from an unknown male reporting a shooting at Mansfield High School. Police searched and were able to clear the building.

"Mansfield Police will continue to be vigilant in and around our schools and will work closely with our local, state, and federal partners to identify and hold accountable the people responsible for these hoax calls for the fear and alarm caused by their heartless actions," Mansfield police said in a statement.

In recent weeks, schools in Massachusetts and across the country have reported receiving similar hoax threats. Numerous schools in Rhode Island reporting unfounded swatting incidents on Monday, according to WJAR.

This week's swatting incidents undoubtedly caused heightened anxiety given the school shooting in Nashville, Tennessee, on Monday that left three children and three adults dead. A heavily-armed assailant wielding two “assault-style” rifles and a pistol killed the three students and three adults at The Covenant School in the latest in a series of mass shootings in a country growing increasingly unnerved by bloodshed in schools.

The attack at the school comes as communities around the nation are reeling from a spate of school violence, including the massacre at an elementary school in Uvalde, Texas, last year; a first grader who shot his teacher in Virginia; and a shooting last week in Denver that wounded two administrators.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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