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Schools and police in two Oregon counties report rash of fake active shooter calls

Gilles Lambert

Law enforcement and school officials in Lane and Douglas counties are warning families about false reports of active shooters in various schools.

Police have investigated a rash of calls in the last 24 hours. They’ve determined the same person is making multiple fake reports, a practice called “swatting.”

The Douglas County Sheriff’s Office says parents may be compelled to take their children home from school, but urge them not to, to help stem panic and fear.

In a release, the 4J District says if anyone feels there is a legitimate threat, to report it via Safe Oregon’s Tip Line.

Schools nationwide are seeing an uptick in swatting, which authorities believe is done to create fear and confusion.

They urge people to avoid swamping 911 and police numbers to inquire about these fake incidents, and to review credible news organizations and local government sources instead.

Meanwhile, Bend police say a call threatening gun violence at a high school earlier this month was a hoax.

Local investigators working with the FBI say the false threat came from outside the country. The call unleashed fear and confusion in a city where a recent high school graduate killed two people and himself in a mass shooting last August.

More than two dozen law enforcement officials responded to Bend High School in response to the hoax, including a state police bomb squad. Students and teachers were locked inside the school as classes continued.

Last year, an NPR analysis found federal authorities have been investigating hundreds of false active shooter calls on school campuses across the country, and those calls appear to originate outside the U.S.

Brian Bull joined the KLCC News Team in June 2016. In his 25+ years as a public media journalist, he's worked at NPR, Twin Cities Public Television, South Dakota Public Broadcasting, Wisconsin Public Radio, and ideastream in Cleveland. His reporting has netted dozens of accolades, including four national Edward R. Murrow Awards (22 regional), the Ohio Associated Press' Best Reporter Award, Best Radio Reporter from the Native American Journalists Association, and the PRNDI/NEFE Award for Excellence in Consumer Finance Reporting.
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