Flatwoods Police respond to swatting call

Published 12:00 am Thursday, April 13, 2023

No actual emergency, school locked down

FLATWOODS, Ky. — Kentucky state authorities have been called in to help investigate a swatting phone call that happened in Flatwoods, Kentucky, on Monday morning.

According to a release from Greenup County Public Safety, at approximately 11:26 a.m., the Greenup County 911 Center received a call from a male subject who said hello and then hung up. 

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When 911 received the call, no data was displayed from the caller with the exception of the phone number. 

Following call-back procedures, 911 staff attempted to call the subject back and also texted the subject to see if an emergency existed. 

It was found the caller used a phone app to place the 911 call in an attempt at swatting 911. 

Swatting is a form of harassment in which attackers try to trick police forces into sending a heavily armed strike force — often a SWAT team, which gives the technique its name — to a victim’s home or business.

Around 11:28 a.m., a Flatwoods police officer got a call at the police station from a male caller stating he just shot his mother in the head and gave an address on Reed Street in Flatwoods, Kentucky. 

The officer relayed the information to 911 and other officers. The appropriate emergency services were sent to the address that was provided. 

When they arrived, the homeowner was the only person home and they told officers they did not call 911. 

Officers canvased all homes located around the given address and found no issues. 

Out of an abundance of caution, Russell Schools was placed in lock-out for a brief period of time while agencies worked on the incident. 

After reviewing phone records at the police department, it was discovered the call came from the same number 911 had received a call from at 11:28 a.m. when the male said hello and hung up. 

After fire and EMS units cleared the scene, Flatwoods Police Chief David Smith called out extra officers to patrol the Russell School campuses for the remainder of the school day. 

The police said the swatting practice is dangerous and places the community and first responders in harm’s way.

“For some attackers, this is the thrill and the purpose of swatting: to cause the victims to fear for their lives as armed police charge into their homes, often with little warning,” Smith said. “The police often believe that they themselves are facing an armed and dangerous adversary, producing a volatile scenario that can result in property destruction, injury, and death.”

Information related to the call was forwarded to the Kentucky Office of Homeland Security Fusion Center and Federal Bureau of Investigation for further investigation.