False active shooter reports made at schools across Wisconsin Thursday

By: - October 23, 2022 4:20 pm

Madison East High School was the subject of a “swatting” incident on Thursday, Oct. 20, part of a spate of false shooting reports that occurred across the state. (Madison Metropolitan School District)

Schools across Wisconsin were the subject of false reports of active shooters on Thursday. The practice, commonly referred to as “swatting,” involves prank calls intended to bring a heavily armed police response to a location and has happened to schools across the country in recent weeks. 

On Thursday, more than a dozen schools reported they were the subject of false reports. The reports came in across the state, affecting schools in Milwaukee, Madison, Green Bay, Kenosha, Janesville, Manitowoc, Racine Oshkosh and Sheboygan. 

FBI Milwaukee spokesperson Leonard Peace said in a statement that swatting puts innocent people in danger. 

 “The FBI is aware of the numerous swatting incidents wherein a report of an active shooter at a school is made. The FBI takes swatting very seriously because it puts innocent people at risk,” said a statement from FBI Milwaukee Division spokesperson Leonard Peace.

In Madison at around 10:40 a.m. someone called the Dane County dispatch center claiming someone had shot dozens of students at East High School. A spokesperson for the Madison Metropolitan School District told local TV station Channel 3000 that the district had already been warned about incidents occurring around the state so they were prepared when the call came in and that police patrols had been increased around the school.

Madison Police Department spokesperson Hunter Lisko says the department has no information to share about an investigation that is still in its earliest stages but that the agency takes the incident seriously. 

“We’re taking it very seriously,” he says. “We as a police department stand ready to protect our schools and protect our community, when we hear these things we’re taking it seriously and slowing things down when we realize maybe it isn’t a real call or isn’t accurate. Even after the fact, whether it be a real threat or not, we work the investigation to its natural conclusion. Of course, public safety is our No. 1 priority.”


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Henry Redman
Henry Redman

Henry Redman is a staff reporter for the Wisconsin Examiner who focuses on covering Wisconsin's towns and rural areas. He previously covered crime and courts at the Daily Jefferson County Union. A lifelong Midwesterner, he was born in Cleveland, Ohio and graduated from Loyola University Chicago with a degree in journalism in May 2019.