Red Sandstone Elementary among Colorado schools to receive threat on Wednesday
No threat was found, but the call appears to be part of a string of 'swatting' incidents across the state
On Wednesday, Feb. 21, the Vail Police Department assessed a possible threat at Red Sandstone Elementary School. No threat was found and all staff and students at the school were reported safe.
“This morning, several schools across the state were put on lockdown due to various threats. These threats were determined to be false and nothing more than ‘swatting’ incidents. ‘Swatting’ refers to filing a false report with the aim of stoking chaos and provoking a large law enforcement response,” read the notice sent by the Eagle County School District.
Ryan Kenney with the Vail Police Department said Thursday that there were numerous threats made around the state Wednesday.
Kenney added that based on the conversations he’s had, the general belief is that the “calls were similar in nature” and coming from one number.
In Colorado, calls were received for schools and districts across the state, with many entering lockdowns or secure mode. This included the Aspen School District, which went into lockdown following “unconfirmed reports” of shots fired at Aspen Elementary School early Wednesday morning, according to a statement posted on the Pitkin County Sheriff’s Facebook page.
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According to Kenney, the call came to Vail Police just before 1 p.m. on Wednesday. While the agency had been notified by the county and its federal partners that these swatting calls were coming in across the state, the department still investigated the threat.
“Obviously we don’t want to dismiss it as a prank,” Kenney said. “So we did respond to the school as calmly and nonchalantly as we could, cleared the school, walked through and made sure there was nothing suspicious at the school, that the administrators at the school were comfortable and everything was OK.”
While Red Sandstone was the only school in the local district to receive a threat, the district said that Eagle County law enforcement “had a greater presence at and around our schools throughout the day,” and that it was continuing to monitor the situation.
“All ECSD schools and our staff and students are safe and accounted for,” the statement concluded.
Because the incident involves multiple calls and a wide geographic area, the investigation has been turned over to the FBI, Kenney said, adding that the Vail Police Department doesn’t know the extent of the investigation.