Amesbury High School, Other Massachusetts Schools Locked Down Over Fake Threat
🔴 A call came into Amesbury Police and other Massachusetts police departments about schools around 11:40 a.m.
🔴 The school was locked down and a room-by-room search conducted.
🔴 The school was determined to be safe and the lockdown lifted about an hour later.
Amesbury High School was one of several Massachusetts school districts that were the subject of a false report of a school shooting Monday.
Amesbury Police said police went to the school after receiving a call about shots fired at the school. They found no evidence of any shots fired or anyone injured.
Police Chief Craig Bailey told the Newburyport Daily News the "swatting" threat drew a response from several surrounding communities. The school was placed on lockdown, and a room-by-room search was conducted. They also spoke to neighbors, asking if they heard any shots fired.
The lockdown was lifted around 12:40 p.m, according to the chief.
"Thank you to Amesbury Police and the brave law enforcement officials and first responders who rushed to the scene to ensure the safety of everyone in Amesbury High School," Rep. Seth Moulton said in a tweet.
Moulton also used the occasion to make a pitch for a national assault weapon ban.
"Even when the reports turn out to be false, the mental health costs to these kids of locking down from a suspected shooter are immeasurable," Mpulton said. "Our students deserve safety at school. I implore my Republican colleagues to join us to put mental health first & #BanAssaultWeapons now."
Threats Across the Bay State
Police received similar calls about schools in Charlestown and East Boston, North Attleboro, and Westfield, according to CBS Boston. Chelmsford Police also said they received a call about a shooting at Chelmsford High School that was false.
"The FBI is aware of the numerous swatting incidents wherein a report of an active shooter at a school is made and is working alongside our law enforcement partners in identifying the source of the hoax threats. Due to the ongoing investigation, we are unable to provide more details," FBI Boston spokeswoman Kristen Setera told Seacoast Current. "Investigating hoax threats drains law enforcement resources and diverts us from responding to an actual crisis. Hoax threats can shut down schools, cause undue stress and fear to the public, and cost taxpayers a lot of money."
Setera said that law enforcement is going to use all available resources to investigate a school threat it is determined to be real or real or not.
Last week, threats were made against several New Hampshire Walmart stores, prompting the state Department of Safety to issue a statement that the threats were all fake.
Threats were made to 10 New Hampshire schools on December 8 and 10 Maine schools on November 16. The source of the threats remains under investigation by the FBI.
A swatting incident is a false threat made to law enforcement that requires a full response of police, fire, and bomb squads, but turns out to be false.
Contact reporter Dan Alexander at Dan.Alexander@townsquaremedia.com or via Twitter @DanAlexanderNH