Active Shooter Hoax Calls Target Dozens of Pennsylvania Schools

PITTSBURGH, PA - MARCH 29: A student from Oakland Catholic High School receives comfort following the evacuation of her school after a call of an active shooter on March 29, 2023 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Many schools, including Oakland Catholic and Pittsburgh Central Catholic, were targeted as part of what authorities are calling "computer-generated swatting calls." Many agencies, including state and municipal police, are conducting investigations. (Photo by Jeff Swensen/Getty Images)

By Ashley Adams

March 29, 2023

Local and state police responded to numerous threats of an active shooter Wednesday at dozens of schools throughout the state, prompting evacuations, lockdowns, and panic among students and parents alike.

A flurry of fake calls reporting active shooters at numerous schools across Pennsylvania Wednesday prompted evacuations, lockdowns, and a large police response.

Pennsylvania State Police said Wednesday that calls went out to various schools across the state, all with similar content involving threats of an active shooter situation or bomb threat. Some were placed to 911 and others rang at police stations. The calls were part of a “swatting” hoax, which involves fraudulently calling in a false emergency in order to prompt a large police response. 

A statement from the Pennsylvania Association of School Administrators said up to two dozen schools were affected, with all or most of the calls coming from the same California phone numbers.

All threats were determined to be false and the origin of the calls is being investigated by local, state, and federal authorities.

The hoax calls and ensuing chaos came only two days after three adults and three children were killed in a shooting at a private school in Nashville.

Schools throughout the eastern and western part of the state were targeted, including:

  • Catasauqua High School, Northampton
  • William Allen High School, Allentown
  • Nazareth Area High School, Nazareth
  • Bishop Carroll High School, Ebensburg
  • Lehighton High School, Lehighton
  • Oakland Central Catholic High School, Pittsburgh
  • Central Catholic High School, Pittsburgh
  • North Hills High School, Pittsburgh
  • Erie High School, Erie
  • Hopewell High School, Aliquippa
  • Altoona High School, Altoona
  • New Castle High School, New Castle
  • Laurel Highlands High School, Uniontown
  • Bellefonte High School, Bellefonte
  • Farrell High School, Ferrell
  • Meadville High School, Meadville
  • Hollidaysburg High School, Hollidaysburg

Author

  • Ashley Adams

    In her 16 years in the communications industry, Ashley Adams has worn many hats, including news reporter, public relations writer, marketing specialist, copy editor and technical writer. Ashley grew up in Berks County and has since returned to her roots to raise her three children.

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