OU CONFIRMS FALSE ALARM WAS ‘SWATTING’; CALLS CAME FROM OUTSIDE US

News 9 - April 10, 2023 6:21 am

The University of Oklahoma, in collaboration with the FBI, confirmed on Sunday that the false alarm active shooter incident on Friday was a “swatting” call that came from outside the United States.

OU President Joseph Harroz, Jr. issued the statement Sunday night in an email.

Read the full message below.

Related Story: OUPD: No Evidence Of Shots Fired, Shooting On University Of Oklahoma Campus

Dear OU Family,

I write to provide an update of what we have learned about the incident that impacted our Norman campus Friday night, which turned out to be false reports of an active shooter. We have since learned more information about what occurred, and I want our community to be the first to know.

First, and above all else, we are enormously relieved that the situation turned out to not be a real event and that our community and our campus are safe. Just as important, I want to express my overwhelming gratitude to the OU Police Department, to the OU Department of Campus Safety, and to the more than 100 officers from multiple law enforcement agencies who immediately and decisively took action, heading directly toward the perceived threat without an ounce of hesitation. Within less than one minute of the initial call to 911, the first emergency RAVE alert was sent to all Norman students, faculty, and staff, and OUPD arrived on the scene in under two minutes. In addition, there were many other staff and administrators who did their part Friday night to keep our community safe and informed. The level of professionalism that was demonstrated across the board is indicative of the quality of our team and the hard work and discipline that are poured into training for such an event. I’m also profoundly thankful to every student, faculty, and staff member who took our emergency alerts seriously and remained vigilant as the situation unfolded. As with any major event, we will learn from this and find ways to improve, but the main takeaway is that our community and its response were exceptional.

We now know more about Friday’s incident. At approximately 9:24 p.m., several calls were made to 911 reporting an active shooter on campus near the South Oval and Bizzell Memorial Library. Officers immediately responded to the area, and after conducting a thorough search, did not find any evidence of a shooting or criminal activity. With assistance from the FBI, we have since confirmed that this was a “swatting” incident, where callers fake an emergency that draws a large response from law enforcement. Although the investigation will continue for some time, it is believed that the calls targeting our campus originated from outside of the United States. Sadly, OU is not the only school to have recently been targeted by swatting, and it is deeply troubling that there are people who want to purposely inflict such trauma and chaos.

As relieved as we are that the incident turned out to be false, we recognize that the feelings of fear and anxiety that many of us experienced on Friday were very real. Please remember that resources are available to you through the university. If you are experiencing difficulty, please contact your campus counseling services (NormanHealth Sciences CenterOU-Tulsa). If you are a student, please feel free to reach out to a student life or centralized student affairs team member at your respective campus. Faculty and staff may also seek assistance through our Employee Assistance Program (EAP).

Now is also a good time to remember that you can update or verify your contact information for OU emergency communication alerts by visiting ecs.ou.edu. On this page, you can also edit your contact settings to add a second phone number – such as that of a family member or loved one – to receive these alerts. In addition, anyone who is not an OU student or employee may opt in to receive emergency alerts for any of OU’s three campuses. To opt in on the Norman campus, text “OUALERTS” to 67283; Health Sciences Center, text “HSCAFFILIATE” to 226787; and OU-Tulsa, text “outulsa” to 67283.

I again share my gratitude to all of you. As always, I am humbled and honored to be a part of this remarkably caring community.

With appreciation,

Joseph Harroz, Jr.

President

 

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