Police Respond To Schools Around The State On Multiple Swatting Incidents This Morning

October 14, 2022

HAMILTON TOWNSHIP, NJ (MERCER)–Hamilton Township Police quickly responded to Hamilton High School West this morning on an apparent “swatting” incident. The school was quickly placed on lockdown as police checked the school to make sure everyone was safe.

New Jersey State Police reported, “The New Jersey State Police has been made aware of numerous active shooter threats targeting various school districts throughout the state.

Several schools have been placed on lockdown and after thorough investigations by local, state, and county authorities, the threats have proven to be unfounded.

The Regional Operations Intelligence Center is currently monitoring the situation and has not deemed any of the threats as credible.

The State Police and our law enforcement partners take all threats seriously and will utilize every asset at our disposal to ensure the safety of our students, faculty, administrators, and the public.

We urge everyone to remain vigilant and report any suspicious activity to your local law enforcement agency.”

Hamilton Police say that on October 14 2022 at 10:02 a.m. Hamilton Police Dispatch received a telephone call from a person with a thick Middle Eastern or Indian accent stating “there are people trying to get into the door of Hamilton West”.  The School Resource Officer along with several responding police units searched Hamilton High School West after initiating a “Lock Down” of Hamilton High School West.  After the incident was deemed safe, the “Lockdown” was lifted.

Hamilton Police gained information that other municipalities were affected by the same type of call with a party having a similar accent.  Hamilton Police along with the Hamilton Twp. Board of Education determined the phone calls were hoax calls.

No injuries were reported during the incident, no suspicious parties were located in or around Hamilton High School West.  Police Units remained on scene until the situation was calm.

Swatting is defined as: “The action or practice of making a prank call to emergency services in an attempt to bring about the dispatch of a large number of armed police officers to a particular address.”

In a letter to parents from Hamilton Township Schools Superintendent Scott R. Rocco, Ed.D. stated:

Today, there were two calls made to 911 that indicated an incident was happening at Hamilton High School West. This resulted in a large police presence inside and outside of the school. It also resulted in the school being put into a shelter in place for one of the calls and a lock down for the other call. 

Neither of these calls were real. They have been deemed a hoax. Neither of these calls were generated inside of our school. At no time were any of our students or staff in any danger. Although that is a relief, it does not lessen the fear or scared feelings of our students and staff.

I have been informed that this same situation has happened to other schools in New Jersey today. 

I would like to thank the faculty and staff of Hamilton High School West for their efforts in ensuring our students’ safety and I would like to thank our Hamilton Township Police Department for their quick response and constant presence.  

We take school safety very seriously in our district. We have safety plans and we practice those plans. Our police department also works collaboratively with us in our planning, drills, and situations that arise in our district. That being said, our best safety measures are when our students, staff, and community say something if they see, hear or know of a problem. Please continue to do so.

Toms River Police said in a Facebook Post, “A short time ago Toms River Police dispatch received a phone call regarding a potential shooting at High School North. Officers responded and the school was locked down as a precaution. The call was deemed unfounded and is being investigated as a swatting incident. We are requesting no one respond to the school as there is no active threat.”

Monmouth County Sherriff’s Office reported, ** POLICE ACTIVITY ** Freehold Twp- Biotechnology High School & Monmouth County Career Center – Kozloski Road Freehold Twp – there is no threat or danger to students.

Jackson Township Police reported, “About an hour ago Jackson Police dispatch received a phone call regarding a potential shooting at Jackson Liberty High School. We had already received information via the FBI that a handful of schools within New Jersey were experiencing the same calls from the same suspect prior to this phone call.

Regardless school security and our School Resource Officer sought out the location given by the caller, and it was deemed not to be a threat as the location given by the caller was inaccurate. Due to the totality of the circumstances, the decision was made not to put the school in lockdown. The call was deemed unfounded and is being investigated as a swatting incident. We are requesting no one respond to the school as there is no active threat.”

Barnegat Police Department made several reports on Facebook, “We received an unfounded report of a “shooter” in the Barnegat High School. Officers were quickly on scene and in the building and have found no indications or reports of anything occurring. Bengal Blvd will be closed as we continue to ensure the security of the building. All other district schools were placed in shelter in place status as a precautionary measure. Parents who are responding to the area are asked to go to the Collins school where we will provide any additional information. It appears that at least one other district in the county has received a similar “report”. Again, we have significant resources on scene to ensure the safety of the kids and staff at BHS and there are no indications that anything has occurred. Updates to follow. –Chief”

The students from BHS are being evacuated and will be bussed to the Collins school for reunification with parents. While we believe this was a swatting incident, officers continue to follow-up with secondary searches of the building. Again, the students and staff are safe and we have significant resources on scene to ensure it stays that way. –Chief

BHS evacuation is complete. Officers have completed the secondary search of the first floor and are wrapping up the second floor. Once that’s done, we’ll open up Bengal Blvd. The school district will then bus any driving-age BHS kids from the Collins school reunification point back to get their cars if needed. Very much appreciate everyone’s patience and cooperation.– Chief

Freehold Township Police Reported, “At 10:13am, the Freehold Township Police Department responded to the Biotech High School for a possible report of shots fired. This incident was deemed to be a hoax and is currently under investigation. As part of the response both the Biotech High School and neighboring Career Center were locked down and both buildings were cleared by officers from Freehold Township, Freehold Borough, and the Monmouth County Sheriff’s Office. All students and staff are safe. Anyone with information is asked to call Detective George J. Baumann at 732-252-1950.”

Message from East Brunswick Schools Superintendent Dr. Valeski:

October 14, 2022

Good Morning East Brunswick Community,

This is Victor Valeski, Superintendent of Schools, with a very important message regarding an incident at our high school this morning…and I want to assure everyone that every student and every staff member is safe.

Our 911 police dispatch operator received a phone call reporting an incident occurring at our high school that required immediate police assistance.  This warranted a large police response to the high school and the building was immediately placed in a “Shelter in Place” status.  Central Elementary School also exercised a “Shelter in Place” because of it’s close proximity to the high school. 

Members of our district Central Office leadership responded to the building to support the HS administration.

Ultimately, the call was determined to be a hoax, also known as SWATTING, but the continuous training with our students, staff, administrators, security team and EBPD was evident today.

Lower Township Police in Cape May County reported, “Lower Cape May Regional High School is in a shelter in place for what we believe is a HOAX. Law Enforcement is conducting a search of the school to confirm.”

Other towns with swatting incidents this morning were Newark at Weequhaic High School and another Paterson.

The scene this morning at Hamilton High School West in Mercer County, NJ

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