An elementary school in Austin was placed on short-term lockdown Monday morning after law enforcement responded to a swatting call.
Austin Chief of Police Dave McKichan reported that the Mower County Dispatch and Records Center took a call at 9:53 a.m. Monday morning stating that an active shooter was at Banfield Elementary School in Austin, which immediately went into short-term lockdown. The call ended with what the dispatcher believed were gunshots in the background, and Chief McKichan stated that patrol staff was immediately dispatched and Sheriff’s Deputies, who were in Austin, also responded. Those initial responding Officers and Deputies did not find that a shooting had occurred at Banfield, but in the course of ascertaining that there was no critical incident, McKichan stated that those peace officers did make entry into the school as if such an event was ongoing, which included breaching a door to do so. Austin Schools Superintendent Dr. Joey Page stated that out of an abundance of caution, all other district buildings were put into a hold.
Chief McKichan indicated that authorities believe the false call to have been made maliciously in order to generate such a response. McKichan stated that the School Resources Officers will continue to communicate with the school district following the event, and Chief McKichan added that his department has been in communication with the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension about the incident as well.