The heavy police presence around Harrison’s Washington Middle School May 10 — and other schools in town thereafter — was caused by a SWATTING incident this morning when an unknown male called the Harrison Police Department to falsely claim there was an active shooter at the middle school, the Harrison PD said in a news release.
According to Harrison PD, the call was made at 11:36 a.m. Harrison police immediately responded to Washington MS and the entire building was quickly searched — there was never an active shooter at the school at any time — and no students, teachers or staffers were ever in any imminent danger, the police said.
Out of an abundance of caution, all schools in town were placed on immediate lockdown at that time and police were sent to all schools to help keep order.
“Thank you to the surrounding agencies for their prompt response and assistance during this incident,” Harrison PD said. “The Harrison Police Department is actively investigating this incident.”
Police say “swatting is the action or practice of making a prank call to emergency services in an attempt to bring about the dispatch of a large number of armed police officers and emergency personnel to a particular address.”
Harrison Police Chief Dave Strumolo and Superintendent of Schools James Doran did not return phone messages seeking comments about the incident.
We will update this story as more details become available.
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Kevin A. Canessa Jr. is the editor of and broadcaster at The Observer, a place where he has served on and off since 2006. He is responsible for the editorial content of the newspaper and website, the production of the e-Newspaper, writing several stories per week (including the weekly editorial), conducting live broadcasts on Facebook Live, including a weekly recap of the news — and much more behind the scenes. Between 2006 and 2008, he introduced the newspaper to its first-ever blog — which included podcasts, audio and video. Originally from Jersey City, Kevin lived in Kearny until 2004, lived in Port St. Lucie. Florida, for four years until February 2016 and in March of that year, he moved back to West Hudson to return to The Observer full time. Click Here to send Kevin an email.