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Crime

Towson High School shooting threat Thursday was made from outside U.S., police say; increased law enforcement presence will continue

Towson High School will have an increased police presence on campus for a third day after a person or entity outside the United States sent a shooting threat to the students and staff Thursday.

Baltimore County Police said Monday that the threat was “generated outside of the United States” and said a surge of similar threats have been made at schools and other academic institutions across the country in the past week.

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An email was sent Thursday night threatening that a school shooting was going to occur, which prompted the department to station additional officers at the high school Friday and Monday. Police did not give exact details of the email but said Friday that the credibility of the threat was low. There will continue to be extra officers on campus Tuesday “out of an abundance of caution,” police said in a news release Monday night.

“We understand how unsettling such messages can be and want to assure you that we are taking all precautions to ensure student and staff safety,” Charlene DiMino, principal of Towson High School, wrote in an email informing students and parents of Monday’s increased police presence.

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The investigation is ongoing, police said.

In October, a high school in Howard County received two gun threats that police determined were hoaxes originating from outside the country.

River Hill High School in Clarksville received threats from a foreign phone number that appeared to be part of a national uptick in “swatting,” a term describing false reports of violence made to trigger a large-scale law enforcement response. Howard County Police said both calls came from the same phone number, which was also used in separate threats around the country. Police found the calls that warned of a student having a gun and a bomb were not credible.

An NPR investigation found at least 113 instances of hoax calls targeting schools across 19 states between September and October.


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