Initial alarms from the university at 9:24 p.m. warned that there was an active shooter situation at Van Vleet Oval, commonly referred to as South Oval. The same message contained the phrase: “Run. Hide. Giant!.”
After about an hour and a half and a thorough search of the area, including the Bizzell Memorial Library, OU released it all. There was no shooting, no casualties, and no threat to the campus.
OU Police Chief Nate Tarver said at a news conference that more than 100 law enforcement officers came to the scene.
On Sunday evening, OU President Joseph Harroz, Jr. said it has been confirmed this was a “swatting” incident, where fake calls are made to provoke a heavy-handed police response. He also says the calls are believed to have come from overseas.
OU is not alone in these threats. Similar hoaxes occurred in recent days at Clemson University, Wake Forest University, Boston University and Harvard University.
On Monday morning, Yukon Public Schools canceled all classes, activities and practices due to a possible threat to the high school. It is unclear how the threat was received or where it originated.
What is “swatting”?
In these hoaxes, a fake call – or a series of fake calls – reports a bombing or shooting. The calls are made to schools, businesses or the police. This prompts a “swatting” response, where law enforcement officers respond in large numbers to the scene. Swatting incidents generate fear and panic and can be very dangerous as officers often enter by force, guns drawn.
Last spring, schools in several states experienced falsely reported bomb calls. Last fall, about 200 school shootings in at least 28 states followed a similar pattern. In these incidents, the caller used Internet-based phone numbers from outside the United States
What is “Run. Hide. Fight!”?
Active shooter training usually provides three tactics to follow should you ever find yourself in that situation.
- Race. If you see a path to evacuate safely, take it.
- Hide. If there is no good escape route, lock and block the door, find a place to hide and be quiet.
- Competing! This is the last resort when your life is in immediate danger. Be aggressive, throw things, yell – do anything to disrupt or incapacitate the shooter. Don’t fight fair.
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