Baldwin High hoax fits the pattern of "swattings" possibly coming from Ethiopia
The 911 call placed on Wednesday morning, the one threatening a school shooting at Baldwin High, literally could've originated 8,000 miles away.
Milledgeville Police Department Chief Dray Swicord listened to a recording of the 911 call multiple times on Wednesday morning. Baldwin2K News then sent Swicord audio of a similar 911 call placed to numerous communities around the United States earlier this fall. According to Swicord, "the voice and the accent sounded very similar."
Wired Magazine and NPR are the two news outlets that have sort of taken the lead on the phenomenon. The "swatting" calls appear to come in waves. There was a wave back in the spring, as well as one earlier this fall. According to the NPR article, which can be read HERE, "NPR has found local reports indicating 182 schools in 28 states received false calls about threats between Sept. 13 and Oct. 21. These have prompted a response known as "swatting," where law enforcement swarms a location where a crime is reportedly in progress. Swatting incidents can be particularly dangerous, as officers often enter with force, guns drawn.
"Through an open records request, NPR has obtained detailed information about the phone number behind that call, made about a high school in Louisiana. The records shed further light on the person or entity behind these schemes, and how they systematically target local institutions.
"The caller, who sounded like a grown man with a North African accent, claimed to be a student. Students were evacuated from the school, the parish fire department deployed and the grounds were searched. No bomb was found.
An investigation and report by the sheriff's office, obtained by NPR through an open records request, found that the call came from an internet, or VOIP, phone number. It also found that the VOIP account was tied to IP addresses in Ethiopia owned by the AFRINIC network, and specifically to the Ethiopian state-owned phone and internet service called Ethio Telecom, based in Addis Ababa. On the day that Bossier Parish received a call from this number, so, too, had 79 other places across Louisiana, Arizona and New Mexico."
Swicord added that "it sounded to me like a robocall," which would fit the pattern. Added the NPR article: "More than three-quarters of the calls placed were made on just three days: March 15, April 5 and April 21. On those days, the VOIP user spent between 6 and 8 hours systematically dialing — and often re-dialing — phone numbers. Sometimes with as few as four seconds between hanging up one call and dialing the next, the number reached 125 places.
The hoax at Baldwin High was "one of at least 25" around the state, according to Swicord.
“Sheriff's deputies, as well as officer from the Milledgeville Police Department and Georgia College Campus Police converged on BHS and "immediately entered the building and did a search of the entire school where it wasdetermined that no threat was present."
Some of the law enforcement officers had SWAT gear, while most ran in with just their service weapon and department-issued vest.