Early Tuesday morning, Cornell University’s police line received a call from an individual claiming to be armed and stating that he had injured a woman. The Cornell University Police Department (CUPD) now suspects that the call was likely a “swatting” attempt, after officers were sent out to investigate the situation.
Swatting refers to the act of making a false report of a dangerous incident or threat, with the intent of prompting a heavily armed police response, usually directed towards someone other than the caller. The term comes from the highly armed S.W.A.T. teams that might be deployed in response to reported threats, such as an active shooter situation.
The caller claimed to be at Jameson Hall, a residence hall on Cornell’s north campus. In response, officers “swiftly arrived to examine and search the area,” as stated by a CUPD release. Since Cornell University is on spring break this week, most students are off-campus. Police have confirmed the safety of Jameson Hall residents who were on campus during the incident.
Following their search and initial investigation, Cornell has determined that the report was false. They noted that the call they received closely resembles other swatting incidents that have occurred at colleges and universities across the country.
CUPD’s investigation is ongoing, and they encourage anyone with information about the incident to contact them at 607-255-1111 or submit information through the Silent Witness Program.
CUPD expressed gratitude for the support provided by various agencies, including the Cornell University Public Safety Communications Center, Ithaca Police Department, Tompkins County Sheriff’s Office, New York State Police, Cayuga Heights Police Department, Cornell Environmental Health and Safety, and Cornell Housing and Residential Life.
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