LANSING, Mich. (WLNS) – On Tuesday, February 7, Michigan was bombarded by multiple fake threats of violence toward seven school districts.
The people behind the calls made today face serious terrorist charges.
The FBI says all of these false threats originated from a single source.
The tactic used to make these threats is called ‘swatting’. What exactly is that?
“Swatting is actually when somebody will call authorities, the police reporting a fake crime. And that’s to get a response from the police. And sometimes SWAT units that type of thing,” said Lt. Rene Gonzalez with the Michigan State Police.
Just last week a student was arrested in Jonesville and charged with swatting.
“In the past, it kind of started with gamers. They would play online games and they would actually call the police in the area that they were playing a game against on Playstation or Xbox,” said Gonzalez. “And then it became more prevalent with people started doing it for just other reasons. Maybe for attention, or somebody who wanted to have school closed down for the day.”
Michigan State Police released a Tweet encouraging parents to talk to their children about swatting, to lower the chances of copycat calls.
“Michigan law allows for multiple types of charges when a person makes a threat of violence,” said Attorney General Dana Nessel.
Nessel said these types of threats could be considered terrorism, a 20-year felony.
Lt. Gonzalez says whether it’s swatting or not, authorities treat each call exactly the same.
“People that are inside of a school, in a grocery store or anything like that, we suggest you treat it the same way and wait until it’s been determined that there isn’t.”
Authorities would not say if they have any leads but added that they expect to charge whoever is responsible with the most severe charges possible.