Radford University victim of fake call claiming an active shooter was on campus

The tactic is known as ‘swatting’

RADFORD, Va. – Radford students feared the possibility of an active shooter on campus Monday after police received a threatening 911 call.

But, officials said this call was part of a prank known as “swatting.”

Radford University Police Captain, Sam Shumate, was on duty when the 911 call came to city police.

“‘Hey, we just got a 911 call saying there’s an active shooter in Washington Hall,’” Shumate said.

Shumate said once police arrived at the scene, they knew something was off.

“Going up through, there wasn’t the chaos that usually happens with (an) active shooting,” he said.

Shumate quickly realized they had been the victim of a swatting call — a 911 call that lures law enforcement to a non-existent scene.

Shumate said students were upset.

“They were very unhappy that people take time to do that and disrupt the daily operation of the university,” he said.

Shumate said the department takes every call seriously and used their active shooter protocol.

“Make sure we’re doing our due diligence and clear all the rooms to make sure there’s really nothing that’s there,” he said.

Swatting is a state and federal offense. Governor Youngkin recently signed a law that will make this punishable by up to a year in jail and a $2500 fine. It is considered a felony offense if someone is injured as a result of the call.

About the Author

Abbie Coleman officially joined the WSLS 10 News team in January 2023.

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