A series of possible swatting incidents — hoax calls reporting serious crimes designed to draw large emergency responses to a single place — locked down high schools in at least a half-dozen New Jersey counties Friday within a half-hour span, law enforcement sources with knowledge of the case say, indicating a possible targeted attack.
Police in Toms River tweeted that they got a call about a possible shooting at High School North around 11 am and the school was locked down. Cops confirmed they were investigating the incident as a possible swatting case and said there was no active threat.
Around the same time, emergency correspondence showed more than a half-dozen schools in at least five counties got similar calls. All of the affected buildings are high schools and they cover the length of the state, from Hamilton High in Mercer County to East Brunswick High School in Middlesex, Barnegat High School in Ocean and Weequihaic in Newark.
Sussex and Monmouth counties reported similar calls. Emergency correspondence indicated all of the calls came in over roughly a half-hour span starting around 10:45 am
Swatting involves a fake emergency call about a series crime — an active shooter, in some cases — that forces a large-scale emergency response, directing police and other resources en masse. Similar incidents have been reported across the country in recent days, involving schools from California to Florida to South Carolina and other states.
Chopper 4 was over the scene of a high school in Newark, New Jersey, one of many affected by an apparent swatting attack across the state Friday.
The police chief in Jackson, New Jersey, where a high school was also locked down Friday, said his department was warned about the possible swatting attack a week or so ago. He said, “Everyone performed in a professional matter.”
Another law enforcement source said an email went out to multiple law agencies advising the same. Details of the message, which the source said came from the state Department of Education, weren’t immediately clear. News 4 is reaching out to the department for comment .
No further details were immediately available.