Southern Utah has been the host of many fake threats in the past few months ranging from minor to major on the danger scale, with most being classified as swatting incidents. This begs the question, what exactly is swatting? 

The official definition from the Oxford Dictionary is “the action or practice of making a prank call to emergency services in an attempt to bring about the dispatch of a large number of armed police officers to a particular address.” 

Other definitions call swatting a type of criminal harassment and is far more common than one might believe. We live in an age where anonymity is the norm through social media and e-mails. Being able to commit these types of pranks is one of the downsides of this always connected era. 

In the past month, Southern Utah has experienced three incidents believed to be examples of swatting calls. 

Hurricane High School Shooting Report 

On April 1, the Hurricane City Police Department received two phone calls from individuals claiming to be students holed up in Hurricane High School while hiding from an active shooter. 

Hurricane police were joined by nearly every law enforcement group in Washington County and even received help from the FBI in searching the school but found no signs of any shooter. 

On top of that, six teachers and 23 students were found in the building, and they also expressed confusion as they didn’t hear any gunshots. 

Parking Lot Bomb Threat 

Several e-mails were sent to Southern Utah businesses with the sender claiming they were going to plant a bomb at a parking lot near Snow Canyon High School.  

Police concluded that the e-mails were nothing more than empty threats after more e-mails were sent to other businesses in St. George with similar qualities. 

SUU Shooting Report 

Officers in Iron County received reports of an active shooter on the campus of Southern Utah University on the morning of April 11, prompting a lockdown for the school as well the cancellation of classes and activities for the day. 

Police searched the campus throughout the morning but didn’t find any sign of a shooter. A statement from Mindy Bensen, the president of SUU, stated the report was most likely a case of swatting. 

The lockdown was lifted in the afternoon of April 11, and classes started back up on April 12 to allow more time for the investigation. 


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