Chris Schulz Published

False Reports Of Active Shooters Made At Schools Across State


More than a dozen false reports of active shooters were made at schools across the state Wednesday. The incident is part of a growing national trend.

Law enforcement in Barbour, Cabell, Harrison, Ohio, Kanawha, Marion, Mercer, Monongalia, Raleigh, Taylor, Wirt and Wood counties all received calls Wednesday morning of active shooters in schools, or the imminent threat of an active shooter.

Morgantown police, who responded to a false call at Morgantown High School around 9 a.m., said in a press release that an unidentified male identifying himself as a teacher at the school called 911 and said seven students had been shot in his classroom.

Deputy Cabinet Secretary for the West Virginia Department of Homeland Security Rob Cunningham says false or not, the safety of students in schools is a top priority and law enforcement responded to all involved locations quickly.

“Every time that there’s a threat, or there’s an allegation that there’s going to be some sort of violence towards our children, we take them all dead serious,” he said.

Cunningham said the calls, known colloquially as ‘swatting’, follow a growing pattern across the country.

“This isn’t only happening in the state of West Virginia, these types of calls have been happening throughout the nation,” he said.

Cunningham confirmed that similar calls were made simultaneously in Ohio Wednesday morning. Schools in North Carolina were targeted with similar false claims last week. He said the West Virginia incidents are now part of a federal investigation.

“My conversation with the FBI this morning was that these sorts of events have been happening throughout the nation and what is happening in West Virginia is going to be elevated to a national level investigation,” Cunningham said.

The false reporting of an emergency incident is a misdemeanor in West Virginia and carries a fine of up to $500 or a six month jail sentence.

Cunningham highlighted the state’s new “SeeSend” phone app, which allows community members to report information and concerns, and could help mitigate false reporting moving forward.

“If they have information, they have a tip, they know of something that’s going to negatively affect a school or a child, you can send that information and it goes straight to the people that it needs to go to to create an immediate response,” he said.