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3 'swatting' calls in 1 month at Summit County schools

The Summit County sheriff said he worries about people becoming complacent after so many hoax calls.

BRECKENRIDGE, Colo. — Three times in the last month, law enforcement has had to respond to false threats of active shooters inside Summit County Schools, Sheriff Jaime FitzSimons said Tuesday.

The threats started in early February at Summit High School. Since that threat forced a lockdown at the school, someone has called in similar threats to Breckenridge Elementary and Upper Blue Elementary, FitzSimons said.

In the last few weeks, 20 different schools have received similar threats in Colorado, many of which prompted huge law enforcement responses.

“Of course, we all respond – and every incident becomes all of our incidents,” he said.

FitzSimons said he couldn’t speak much to the active investigation into the threats, noting that the FBI is investigating. The federal agency has been quiet about any progress in the investigation.

“We're narrowing in on suspects. We do have a good idea of where they’re coming from… I don’t know what the enforcement side of that looks like or if we’ll actually be able to reach out and touch these people,” FitzSimons said. “It’s a technology issue. Can we evolve as fast as the technology’s evolving and as fast as these pranks are being played out.”

The sheriff said the concerning part of the threats is how they could create an element of complacency.

“You can see that it wears on the kids,” he said. “You can see that it wears on the parents. It wears on the school district. So, there is some traumatic effect to it.”

He also feared the caller could be watching how the community reacts.

“Is this someone testing response times because they’re a nefarious actor and they’re really planning something else and they want to see days of the week, times responses, who shows up, how serious law enforcement takes it,” he said.

“They both play into each other. Wear down the community enough to where people don’t pay attention to it and then have an act somewhere else.”

FitzSimons said he has been happy with the way his deputies and other officers have responded.

“There’s nothing like a plan until you test it, and we’ve had plenty of opportunity to test it," he said.


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