Hoax terrifies thousands of Capital Region families

There were some scary moments at Capital Region schools on Thursday morning.

A dozen school districts scattered across the Capital Region reported receiving phony active shooter calls, as part of a swatting incident.

Albany, Troy, Columbia, Mohonasen and Schodack were among the school districts targeted in the hoax.

Swatting is described as making a prank call to emergency services in an attempt to dispatch a large number of armed police officers to a particular address.

The call in Albany was for students that were shot, along with a shooter inside the school. The school went into a lockdown. Other schools from across the region had lockdowns as police searched the schools. Officers were able to determine that the threats were not credible.

Given what happened Monday in Nashville, it was emotional for officers in Albany when they responded to the call at their school, Albany Police spokesperson Steve Smith said. He has a message for anyone who thinks this is funny.

“We live in these times right now, where this is not a joke. This isn’t funny,” Smith said. “We do have an investigation taking place and hopefully, we will find this person and hold them accountable.”

Albany Police have a detective that works with the FBI, Smith said. Everything remains under investigation.

FBI Albany Public Affairs Specialist Sarah Ruane released this statement:

“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.” 

EDITOR’S NOTE: An earlier version of this story listed Chatham as one of the school’s targeted by a swatting call. Chatham instituted a lockout as a precaution after seeing the reports of threats to other schools. It did not receive the swatting call.