Feb 22, 2023 - Politics & Policy

False active shooter reports prompt lockdowns at Colorado schools

Boulder a day after a mass shooting in March 2021. Photo: AAron Ontiveroz/MediaNews Group/The Denver Post via Getty Images

Several Colorado schools and an FBI facility in Denver received threatening phone calls Wednesday, prompting lockdowns.

Driving the news: The threat at the FBI facility was unfounded, and appears to be connected to "unfounded threats in other jurisdictions," the Denver Police Department confirmed to Axios.

Details: A shelter-in-place order was instituted at Boulder High School after local dispatch received a call from someone saying he had semi-automatic weapons and was prepared to go into the school.

  • "The way this [911] call came in really was authentic to make you believe that we had a real active shooter in the front of the school," Boulder Police Chief Maris Herold said at a press briefing.
  • In the background of the call, "you can actually hear shots being fired," she added.
  • The lockdown was lifted and no injuries were reported.
  • Brighton High School, about 25 miles from Boulder, also received a threatening call, the local police department said, later confirming that no credible threat was found.
  • Ortega Middle School, about 230 miles south of Boulder, got a call of an armed individual entering the school, triggering a lockdown that was lifted soon thereafter, per Reuters.

Meanwhile, schools in Oregon and Idaho have also been hit with fake active shooter reports this week.

  • Additionally, several Texas and Michigan schools have had similar instances in recent months.

The big picture: A wave of false reports of gun violence, known as "swatting," has been sweeping the country, prompting fear in students, school staff and law enforcement.

By the numbers: There were more than 180 reports of threatening call hoax incidents across 28 states from Sept. 13 through Oct. 21, NPR reported in October.

Flashback: The threats in Boulder come as the city marks the second anniversary of the March 2021 mass shooting at a Colorado supermarket that left 10 people dead.

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