HAWKINS COUNTY, Tenn. (WJHL) – An 18-year-old has been arrested in Canada after investigators traced “swatting” calls at Volunteer High School in Hawkins County and Watauga High School in Boone, N.C. to him.
According to a release from the Manitoba Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP), the Canadian authorities received a request to help the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation, North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation and the Department of Homeland Security after both schools were placed on lockdowns in lockdown.
In both instances, a male caller told police that he was inside the schools with a gun and intended to shoot others.
The Hawkins County Sheriff’s Office also issued a release Wednesday confirming the details.
On August 10, police and first responders rushed to Volunteer High School after the call was received. Students were taken to the nearby National Guard Armory, and the school was searched. Hawkins County Sheriff Ronnie Lawson said later that the threat appeared to be a “hoax” and it would be investigated.
A week later, the Hawkins County Sheriff’s Office reported they believed the call had originated from outside of Tennessee.
On August 18, a similar situation occurred at Watauga High School in Boone. A caller claiming to be a distraught child told dispatchers he was going to harm students at the school. After a lockdown, police were unable to locate a suspect or threat and described the incident as “very similar” to the one at Volunteer High.
On Wednesday, September 8, RCMP stated that the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation had found that the calls in question had come from a phone number registered to a home in Manitoba province of Canada.
“Further investigation by the RCMP and Winnipeg Police Service determined that the residence was located on the Fisher River Cree Nation,” the release states.
A search warrant was executed at a home on August 30, and the RCMP reports multiple electronic devices were seized.
The 18-year-old suspect was taken into custody. RCMP identified the suspect only as a male.
He was later released for a court date of December 7, 2021 in Manitoba.