Manitoban arrested in connection with swatting incidents that caused U.S. school lockdowns

An RCMP officer is charged with careless storage of a firearm after an investigation by The Independent Investigation Unit of Manitoba (IIU).

A Manitoba man was taken into police custody in connection with alleged swatting incidents in the United States.

Manitoba RCMP said its East District Crime Reduction Enforcement Support Team (CREST) received a request to assist the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation, North Carolina State Investigation and the Department of Homeland Security in relation to swatting incidents in the United States.

Police say swatting is the practice of making a phone call falsely describing a life-threatening situation in order to provoke an armed police response. Officials said there were two incidents in Tennessee and two in North Carolina.

According to RCMP, the U.S. police departments received 911 calls on separate dates from a male advising he was inside a school with a firearm and was going to start shooting. In both cases, the schools were placed on lockdown and a number of police, including SWAT officers, responded.

Police said these situations created dangerous circumstances for the public and emergency personnel.

According to RCMP, the calls were later found to be false.

An investigation launched by the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation concluded the calls originated from a number registered to a Manitoba home. Further investigation by RCMP and the Winnipeg Police Service determined the home was located on the Fisher River Cree Nation, officials said.

Police say officers executed a search warrant at the home on Aug. 30, and a number of electronic items were seized.

RCMP said an 18-year-old man from Fisher River Cree Nation was taken into custody and later released. He is scheduled to appear in court on Dec. 7 in Peguis First Nation. Any charges against the man have not been proven in court.

Manitoba RCMP continue to investigate.