Around 20 police cars and SWAT were present at the north end of University of Nevada, Reno campus on April 9 around 8:40 p.m.
According to Joshua Reynolds, deputy chief of the University of Nevada, Reno Police Department, they were responding to a “potential threat” on campus which was ruled out as a “hoax.”
“We received information tonight about a potential threat to campus and out of an abundance of caution, there was a large police presence,” said Reynolds in an email correspondence. “The officers were able to fairly quickly determine that there was no actual threat on campus and this was the result of a hoax.”
Reynolds further added the campus is safe.
Update as of April 10
UNRPD posted an update on their Instagram saying the incident was due to a “swatting” hoax.
“This incident has been confirmed as a ‘swatting’ hoax and there is no threat to campus at this time,” said the Instagram post.
According the post by UNRPD, swatting happens when “swatters” call in false reports to emergency lines and claim incidents like active shooters or a hostage situation. This draws a large police presence, like the one on campus this Sunday, to the scene of a false incident.
Swatting has gained traction in recent years, and has affected many other university campuses such as Harvard University, Oklahoma University and Boston University. Swatting is considered a criminal offense.
Update as of April 10 at 7:45
Brian Sandoval, UNR president, released a statement on the incident further clarifying the details.
“At approximately 8:24 p.m. on Sunday, April 9, University Police received a call claiming there was an active shooter on the Quad,” said the statement. “University Police Services mobilized and responded with several first-responding agencies in the community.”
The statement went to affirm the incident was due to swatting which led to the police presence; however, the area was cleared within 15 minutes.
“As a reminder, the University Police Department offers active assailant training year-round to our faculty, staff and students,” said the statement. “Safety is our top priority and we encourage our community members to understand the actions they can take to ensure personal safety.”
Emerson Drewes can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or via Twitter @EmersonDrewes.