CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCBD) – Authorities across South Carolina are investigating fake phone calls that disrupted several schools in the state on Wednesday.
State Reps. Wendell Gilliard and Marvin Pendarvis warned those guilty of making false calls to law enforcement of active shooters at high schools throughout the state – including one at Burke High School – will be prosecuted.
Rep. Gilliard assured students, parents, and faculty at schools across South Carolina that the hoaxes are being taken seriously and those who participate will be held responsible.
Gilliard said he has spoken with South Carolina Law Enforcement Division Chief Mark Keel to express his concern and requested that the agency investigates along with the FBI.
Both agencies – SLED and the FBI – said they are aware of the hoaxes, referred to as ‘swatting,’ and both are taking the matter very seriously.
“The FBI takes swatting very seriously because it puts innocent people at risk. While we have no information to indicate a specific and credible threat, we will continue to work with our local, state, and federal law enforcement partners to gather, share, and act upon threat information as it comes to our attention,” said Kevin Wheeler, Public Affairs Specialist for the FBI.
“While at this time the threats are believed to be a hoax, SLED encourages each jurisdiction to take any and all threats seriously,” said SLED spokesperson Renée Wunderlich. “SLED is actively working with our state and federal law enforcement partners.”
Gov. Henry McMaster said there was no excuse for participating in something that disrupts schools.
“People are trying to get the children educated and live their lives and have successful days, and to have something like this thrown into it is unnecessary and just ridiculous,” he said. “And it’s a crime.”
Law enforcement responded to about eight schools across South Carolina after receiving false reports of emergency situations – often reported as an active shooter – on Wednesday morning. No injuries or proof of an emergency was present at any of the schools.