There are currently no suspects after three children’s hospitals, including Alberta Children’s in Calgary, received phone calls that someone had guns and was going to go inside the facilities.
Calgary police received a call around 8:20 p.m. Sunday and the lockdown lasted until about 9:45 p.m. after a significant police response, along with similar incidents at SickKids in Toronto and Stollery Children’s Hospital in Edmonton.
“Our investigators are liaising with their investigators to take a look into this incident,” CPS Insp. Paul Wozney said, adding he couldn’t say if the call came from Canada or the United States as the Cyber Crimes Unit investigates.
Wozney said it isn’t unusual for multiple targets to be part of ‘swatting’ incidents, in which someone makes a fake call about a dangerous situation that draws a large police presence.
As for what motivates people to make the bogus calls, Wozney said it’s baffling.
“I don’t know,” he said. “The Internet can be, certainly a great tool, but it can also be a very dark place as well too, and some very dark people are able to troll their way through the Internet and cause problems.”
Along with the significant response, a CPS cruiser stayed on-site throughout the early morning as a precaution and Wozney referenced the recent school shooting in Florida as one reason why these calls have to be taken seriously.
Sometimes swatting calls can become dangerous, even when there is no threat.
Late last year, Wichita Police responded to a home in what turned out to be swatting situation, in which a man in the home was killed by a police officer.
A California man was arrested in connection with the call, and Wozney said that suspect had made a swatting call in Calgary.
“We have warrants for that person,” he said.