Ky. police investigating threat made to university, hospital
ROWAN COUNTY, Ky. (WKYT/WYMT) - People in Morehead are on high alert on Wednesday after threatening messages circulated around the city.
Local law enforcement said a swatting call was made followed by emails they believe came from that same caller. Swatting is when someone contacts emergency services in an attempt to get them to dispatch a large number of police officers to a particular address, or in this case, two addresses.
“Does somebody think that’s funny to cause an emergency response and put people’s lives in danger?” Rowan County Sheriff Matt Sparks said.
Sheriff Sparks said a 911 call sparked concern.
“Dispatch, when they called me originally, said it sounds like they used a machine to change their voice or a program,” Sparks said.
A caller claimed to have killed their family, but officers found no evidence eat the address they provided. Then came the emails, where the person made even more threats.
“Now he was going to go to Morehead State and start shooting people and he was going to go to St. Claire and start shooting people there, and he was going to leave a bomb in case he couldn’t’ get his shooting accomplished. He was going to leave a bomb and blow up buildings,” Sparks said.
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Sparks said the hospital added security and Morehead State officials stayed in touch with him. He said he quickly concluded this was likely a hoax, and tied to previous swatting calls, that were connected to online gaming.
“A juvenile was on the internet having contact with people all over the country and our first swatting call was a couple years ago,” Sparks said.
Sparks said he believes the people that teen was communicating with are behind these calls.
“If we can find the person responsible, I don’t care where they’re at, it’s a felony, so we’ll go get them,” Sparks said.
He said one person’s communication with anonymous, potentially dangerous people can have a widespread impact.
“Know what your children are doing on the internet who they’re talking with, and don’t assume that they’re on there playing games because that’s not what’s going on,” Sparks said.
The Rowan County Sheriff’s Office is asking anyone who might have information on who may be behind these swatting calls to contact them.
This legislative session, lawmakers passed a bill to make swatting a felony, which was signed into law by Governor Andy Beshear.
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