A Canadian teenager suspected in two cases of false emergency calls that have sent police officers racing to Montgomery County schools is believed to have caused at least 30 similar incidents across North America.
The 16-year-old, who lives in Ottawa, is believed to have been involved what is known as “SWATing.” It is a practice in which a person calls police and falsely claims that there is a shooter on the scene or bomb threat so that armed SWAT teams have to be sent to the location. Police say the incidents divert valuable resources as teams are deployed in response to the calls.
Montgomery County Police tell The Washington Post they believe the Canadian teen was involved in two recent incidents of SWATing at Northwest High School in Germantown and another at Northwood High School in Silver Spring. Capt. Paul Starks, a Montgomery County Police spokesman, said authorities are continuing to investigate the Canadian teen.
The FBI’s Los Angeles Field Office told the newspaper the teenage suspect was also involved in threats made to schools in California, Florida, Connecticut and New York. The Canadian youth falsely warned police of “explosives, hostage-taking and the threat of an active shooter” in some of those cases, according to the FBI.
The teen has been charged with 60 offenses, including public mischief, making death threats and conveying false information with intent to harm, according to police in Ottawa.
Authorities did not release the teenager’s name because of his age. Ottawa police searched his house and seized firearms, ammunition and his “communication devices,” the Post reported.