‘It’s just ridiculous’: Reported school shootings in Horry County, across SC a hoax
MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. (WMBF) - Horry County Schools and the Myrtle Beach Police Department said reports of a shooting at multiple Horry County schools Wednesday morning are false.
MBPD received a hoax report of a shooting at Myrtle Beach Middle School around 9:30 a.m.
MBPD spokesperson MCpl Tom Vest told WMBF News that Loris High School, Conway High School, Myrtle Beach High School and Myrtle Beach Middle School received the fake reports.
“Our schools here are safe,” said Vest.
The Conway Police Department later confirmed it received a similar call at Conway High School that also turned out to be false.
Law enforcement, including the FBI, have determined the calls were a hoax and no incident occurred.
The FBI said it was aware of the incidents, with other situations happening across the country.
“The FBI takes swatting very seriously because it puts innocent people at risk,” the agency said. “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. We urge the public to remain vigilant, and report any and all suspicious activity and/or individuals to law enforcement immediately.”
Horry County Schools released the following statement:
“We have fallen victim to what is believed to be swatting (making a prank call to emergency services in an attempt to bring about the dispatch of a large number of first responders) calls regarding incidents at various schools, which include Myrtle Beach High, Myrtle Beach Middle, and Conway High, to date. Police are currently on the campuses of these schools, and I can assure you that all students and staff are safe. Police will remain on campus and continue to investigate the situation.
It appears the swatting prank is happening throughout other school districts in our state including Charleston and Beaufort.”
The Georgetown County Sheriff’s Office also said it was aware of a trend spreading through social media involving calls made to schools threatening to “shoot them up.” The department also said there was no credible threat to any school or facility in the county.
Fake reports across the state Wednesday morning were reported at schools in the following counties:
- Laurens County
- Richland County
- Anderson County
- Beaufort County
- Greenville County
- Charleston County
- Chesterfield County
According to Richland County Sheriff, said the statewide swattings may be a TikTok challenge. Richland County Sheriff Lott told our sister station, WIS, that “the phone call was spoofed and used a program to appear like it was coming from inside the school.”
Gov. Henry McMaster addressed the incidents while in Greenville, according to our sister station WHNS, saying, “It’s just ridiculous and it’s a crime.”
“I’m informed by law enforcement that those are not legitimate calls,” McMaster said. “I hope that they find who’s doing that, I hope that kind of conduct will stop immediately.”
After speaking with the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division later in the day, the governor said it’s possible the calls may have come from another country.
South Carolina Attorney General Alan Wilson addressed the hoax on social media by saying:
“Active shooter situations are taken extremely serious by law enforcement. False claims aren’t a joke and prosecutors across the state will not treat them as jokes. I am disgusted by the recent numerous reports of false active shooter situations at South Carolina schools.”
The South Carolina Department of Law Enforcement is investigating.
According to state laws, swatting is punishable by up to five years in prison and a fine.
Darlington, Florence, and Marion school districts said they are currently on fall break and representatives said they did not receive any swatting calls.
This is a developing story. Stay with WMBF News for updates.
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