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What Is Swatting and What Are the Consequences in Connecticut?

Posted on in Criminal Defense

 Stamford, CT juvenile criminal defense lawyerAlong with the ever-increasing incidents of school shootings in this country, there is also the alarming increase in the number of swatting incidents that occur. Swatting is the term used to describe incidents where someone makes a false report to emergency services in an effort to send a large number of law enforcement to a certain location.

Almost every week since the beginning of the school year, law enforcement has rushed to at least one school somewhere in the U.S. because of false reports of an armed person on school grounds or other threats of violence. Federal law enforcement is actively working to determine if these incidents are being coordinated by the same party or parties or all separate incidents.

Swatting in Connecticut

According to the National Association of School Resource Officers (NASRO), there have been dozens of swatting incidents in more than 30 states since the school year began. Several of these incidents have taken place right here in Connecticut. On Friday, October 21, there were false reports sent to authorities for multiple school locations.

At approximately 8:55 a.m., Stamford High in Stamford was put in lockdown after reports of an active shooter threat. As police investigated the incident, other schools in the district were also put on lockdown as a precaution. At approximately 9:15 a.m., police determined the threat was a hoax and the lockdowns were lifted.

Just as Stamford’s lockdown was being lifted, Westport Police received a report of an active shooter at Staples High School. An hour later, Windsor Locks Police received a call that 10 students at the middle school had been shot. At 10:24 a.m., Enfield Police received a report that an active shooter had injured multiple students. At 11:08, Norwich Police received a report of an active shooter at the Norwich Technical High School. Approximately 15 other schools received threats that day. All reports proved to be false.

Six days later, on October 27, the Manchester school superintendent received an email from someone claiming to have a gun and explosives, threatening to harm people at the high school. The school was not put on lockdown because of all the false threats that had occurred the week before. This threat also proved to be false.

Penalties for Swatting

Many acts of swatting are committed by young people as a prank or act of revenge who do not realize just how serious a crime it is.

When an individual commits an act of swatting, the consequences of that act can be harsh. The law enforcement resources wasted, along with the emotional impact to those locked down at a location and the horror for their families, can be significant. Because of those impacts, Connecticut passed a law in 2017 making swatting a Class D felony. If convicted, a person faces up to five years in prison, a $5,000 fine, as well as being required to pay the cost of the emergency response to the incident.

Contact a Fairfield County Defense Attorney

If your teen has been accused of committing swatting or some other crime, you want an aggressive Stamford, CT juvenile defense lawyer advocating for your child and ensuring their rights – and their future – are protected. Call the Law Offices of Daniel P. Weiner at 203-348-5846 to schedule a free consultation and find out how our firm can help.