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'Swatting' calls target Olentangy High School, Columbus' East High School

Hoax calls were also made Tuesday involving schools in Dayton, Springfield, Cincinnati and Akron.

COLUMBUS, Ohio — Law enforcement responded to at least two central Ohio high schools on Tuesday on reports of an active shooter that were later determined to be hoaxes.

At approximately 12:44 p.m., the Delaware County Sheriff's Office said someone called 911 claiming multiple people were shot inside Olentangy High School. The caller claimed to be a student and said he was hiding inside the school.

Deputies responded to the campus and searched all rooms at the high school. Nothing was found and there were no reports of injuries.

The sheriff's office said they were aware of reports of hoax calls at other schools but took the threat at the high school seriously until they confirmed all students and staff were safe.

Just after 12:30 p.m., Columbus police and fire responded to East High School after a report of a shooting. According to the Columbus Division of Police, the false report also claimed there were multiple victims at the school.

Hoax calls were also made Tuesday involving schools in Dayton, Springfield, Cincinnati and Akron.

In November of last year, Gov. Mike DeWine signed a bill into law addressing hoax emergency calls within the state. 

“Swatting” — which is when someone knowingly reports a false emergency that prompts a response by law enforcement —  is a fourth-degree felony. If a person is physically harmed during a resulting police response, it becomes a second-degree felony. Those convicted could also be financially responsible for the costs of the law enforcement response.

The FBI issued the following statement in response to the false reports: 

“The FBI is aware of the numerous swatting incidents wherein a report of an active shooter at a school is made. The FBI takes swatting very seriously because it puts innocent people at risk. 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. We urge the public to remain vigilant, and report any and all suspicious activity and/or individuals to law enforcement immediately.”

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