BRUNSWICK, Ga. — Entire communities in Southeast Georgia were put on edge Wednesday morning with reports of an active shooter on school property. Fortunately, nobody was hurt and that's because the initial call turned out to be false.
It appears that a troubling nationwide hoax has made its way to some local schools.
A police officer kicking down the door with his gun drawn; that's how one senior from Brunswick High School described his morning to First Coast News.
First Coast News obtained a 4-minute-long phone call that launched law enforcement into action in Brunswick, Georgia. Part of that phone call, that was eventually determined to be a hoax, states, "I was teaching the biology class and he came to the classroom and shot 7 students there, 2nd floor room 1-9."
Schools across Southeast Georgia were placed on lockdown after local police stations received similar phone calls. According to an investigation by National Public Radio, 182 schools in 28 states received false calls about threats between Sept. 13th and Oct. 21st of this year. Recordings of those 911 calls show they are almost identical and very similar to the ones received today Wednesday in Brunswick.
Hoax 911 calls are often designed to generate a response referred to as "swatting", which is when law enforcement swarms a location with members of their SWAT team.
After the incidents on Wednesday State Representative Steven Sainz and Camden County Sheriff Jim Proctor released the following joint statement:
“Nothing is more sacred than our students' and staff’s safety in the classroom. Every day parents entrust their children to the educational environments of our local classrooms. This morning, threats were made against multiple South Georgia schools regarding an active shooter; this included a threat to Camden County High School. All threats made today have been confirmed to be false. The school faculty and law enforcement personnel who arrived on the scene and immediately executed a threat assessment are to be commended. However, the fear instilled in the hearts of every parent, child and faculty member is still present.
Due to the regional nature of multiple threats, we are requesting an immediate effort to coordinate a joint investigation for all affected counties across the Coastal Georgia region. The response to these egregious acts against our communities must meet a deliberate and unified effort to apprehend the guilty parties. We formally request that the Georgia Bureau of Investigation initiate a task force to investigate the threats that were made today. The task force should include relevant state and federal resources, as well as all school systems and law enforcement agencies who responded and are now investigating the school shooting reports in Camden, Glynn, Brantley, Chatham and Lowndes counties.”
According to the FBI, their field office in Atlanta is currently working with local law enforcement.