A Canadian teenager was arrested in connection with a string of “swatting” incidents in Montgomery County and four states.
According to the FBI, swatting is a term used to describe a hoax in which a person or group gives police a bogus threat — such as a bomb threat or an active shooter scenario at a local school— to spur the response of SWAT teams to specific locations. Schools in Maryland, California, Florida, Connecticut and New York were targeted, according to the FBI.
The Maryland schools the teen is accused of swatting were in Montgomery County, local authorities said. Montgomery County spokeswoman Angela Cruz said police responded to threats of violence April 29 at Northwest High School in Germantown, Northwood High School in Silver Spring and Richard Montgomery High School in Rockville; May 5 at Northwest; and May 6 at Northwest and Northwood.
As a result of the investigation, Ottawa police on Thursday arrested a 16-year-old boy who they charged with 60 criminal offenses including public mischief, mischief to property, making death threats, conveying false information with the intent to alarm, Ottawa police said in a news release.
Ottawa police withheld the teenager’s name because he is a minor. A Twitter user appeared to claim responsibility for several of the incidents, including those reported in Montgomery County.
An FBI spokeswoman said Tuesday that no charges had been filed in the U.S. against the teen.
Initially, the high schools were asked by police to implement emergency procedures, including evacuation and lockdown, said county school spokesman Dana Tofig.
“As it became clear these were hoaxes, we took a more measured approach but still worked with the police to make sure the students were safe,” Tofig said.