MADISON, Wis. — Several fake school shooting reports have been called into law enforcement agencies across the state Thursday morning, including one in Madison.
Madison Metropolitan School District spokesperson Tim LeMonds confirmed with News 3 Now that someone called Dane County Dispatch at about 10:40 a.m. Thursday claiming a person had shot dozens of students at East High School in Madison. The call was similar to other calls received by law enforcement agencies across the state. In every case, there was no legitimate threat to the schools.
News 3 Now’s partners in Milwaukee reported more than a half-dozen similar calls were made in southeastern Wisconsin, including in Milwaukee, Waukesha, and Ozaukee Counties. Authorities in Portage also confirmed they had received a fake “swatting” call for Portage High School.
LeMonds said Dane County authorities actually alerted the school district about the calls coming in around the state, warning that it was a possibility that similar reports would be made about schools in Madison.
LeMonds said because of that, they were prepared with a response. Police patrols are being increased in the area of East High School as a precaution, LeMonds said, because the district still needs to take every potential threat seriously. As of 11 a.m. Thursday, East High School was the only school in Madison to be the subject of one of the false shooting reports.
The Madison Police Department said Thursday afternoon it was notified of the reports by Dane County Emergency Management and had yet to find any credible threats to local schools as of about noon on Thursday.
“We’re saddened and disappointed that someone would do this and are working diligently with our law enforcement partners to identify the person responsible,” Madison Police Officer Ryan Kimberley said in the department’s report on the incident.
The FBI’s Milwaukee Division released a statement Thursday morning saying it was also aware of numerous “swatting” incidents about an active shooter at schools across Wisconsin.
“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,” the FBI said. “We urge the public to remain vigilant, and report any and all suspicious activity and/or individuals to law enforcement immediately.”
Anyone with information is asked to call Madison Police at 608-255-2345 or Madison Area Crime Stoppers at 608-266-6014.
This is a breaking news story that will be updated as more information becomes available.