‘Swat­ting’ threats at three schools linked to oth­ers

The Trentonian (Trenton, NJ) - - FRONT PAGE - By Isaac Avilucea iav­[email protected]­tu­ry­media.com @IsaacAvilucea on Twit­ter

LAWRENCE » In­ves­ti­ga­tors are prob­ing a “swat­ting” in­ci­dent that tar­geted at least a half-dozen schools across the state, in­clud­ing three in the town­ship, Lawrence Po­lice Chief Brian Caloiaro said.

The phoned-in threats at three town­ship schools came within min­utes of each other, lead­ing to evac­u­a­tions at Ben Franklin El­e­men­tary and Lawrencville School on Route 206.

Lawrenceville El­e­men­tary School on Craven Lane was also locked down af­ter a sec­re­tary re­ceived a call at 10:30 a.m. from some­one say­ing a man with a ri­fle was headed for the school, Caloiaro said.

Dis­trict schools, along with Notre Dame High School and St. Ann’s School, were also locked down as a pre­cau­tion, and a po­lice of­fi­cer was de­ployed to each school, Lawrence su­per­in­ten­dent Ross Ka­sun said in a let­ter to par­ents.

The schools were swept by po­lice dogs, and the threats were de­ter­mined to be un­founded, the po­lice chief said. The lock­down was lifted at 11:50 a.m., the su­per­in­ten­dent said.

“We greatly ap­pre­ci­ate our ex­cel­lent lo­cal law en­force­ment and the sup­port they pro­vide us,” Ka­sun wrote. “The depart­ment re­sponded im­me­di­ately and as­sisted us through­out the morn­ing. Also and as trained, our staff did ev­ery­thing pos­si­ble to ensure the safety and well-be­ing of all stu­dents and staff.”

Caloiaro said dis­turb­ing calls were also made to at least three other schools across the state within hours of each other.

Lin­den High School, County Prep High School and McNair Aca­demic High School in Jer­sey City were also tar­geted, ac­cord­ing to NJ.com.

Po­lice be­lieve they’re all linked as they in­volved the same or a sim­i­lar num­ber.

Au­thor­i­ties tried but couldn’t trace the calls, the po­lice chief said.

He said the FBI isn’t in­volved in the in­ves­ti­ga­tion at this point.

The first bomb threat at Ben Franklin El­e­men­tary School came in around 10:25, in­di­cat­ing there were six bombs on cam­pus, po­lice said.

Five min­utes later, the same caller con­tacted Lawrenceville El­e­men­tary School in­di­cat­ing a gun­man was headed for the school.

The last call to the Lawrenceville prep school also in­di­cated the pres­ence of pipe bombs, ac­cord­ing to an alert ob­tained by The Tren­to­nian.

The dis­trict as­sured par­ents their chil­dren were safe and asked them not to go to the schools.

Steve Mur­ray, the head­mas­ter at the pri­vate board­ing school, no­ti­fied par­ents around 11:15 that the school re­ceived a phoned-in threat.

The board­ing school was evac­u­ated fol­low­ing the bomb threat but “100 per­cent” of stu­dents were ac­counted for af­ter they were led through the woods and re­lo­cated to the Bris­tol Mey­ers Squibb fa­cil­ity, Mur­ray said.

Stu­dents were cleared to re­turn to cam­pus af­ter it was deemed safe, ac­cord­ing to the school’s web­site. Classes and sports were can­celed for the rest of the day.

Any­one with in­for­ma­tion is asked to con­tact Lawrence Po­lice De­tec­tive Sean Kerins at 609-844-7121

FILE PHOTO FROM BEN FRANKLIN EL­E­MEN­TARY SCHOOL’S FACE­BOOK PAGE

Ben Franklin El­e­men­tary School.

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