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Phone call prompted Friday lockdown at Missoula's Big Sky High School

Other Montana communities reported similar incidents
Big Sky High School
GFX Map School Threats
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Posted at 11:05 AM, Dec 09, 2022
and last updated 2022-12-12 09:56:54-05

UPDATE: 2:02 p.m. - Dec. 9, 2022

MISSOULA - The Missoula Police Department has issued a statement following Friday's lockdown at Big Sky High School.

Several schools around Montana — and in surrounding states — received a phone call reporting an active shooter.

MPD notes that an investigation indicates this was a “swatting” incident, which is a false report to garner a response.

Police say there is no known threat to local schools at this time and School Resource Officers — along with patrol officers — are conducting extra patrols around schools.

GFX Map School Threats

"We understand the different emotions these calls bring out and the impact they have on our community. Missoula Police takes any threat of violence towards our community very seriously," a social media post states.

The Missoula County Sheriff's Office also noted on social media that several cities and towns in Montana received similar phone calls on Friday morning reporting an active shooter at the local school.

The Sheriff's Office added that "these have been investigated and have been found to be false!" The social media post added, "law Enforcement, through our School Resource Officers, are monitoring the situation closely and are ready to respond if needed."

“This is likely an orchestrated hoax tactic called swatting,” Division of Criminal Investigation Administrator Bryan Lockerby said in a news release “We are assisting with the coordination of these incoming threats to further the investigation and identify the source of the calls.”

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Law enforcement in several other Montana locations — including Billings, Columbia Falls, Helena, Miles City, Forsyth and Gallatin County — have investigated similar threats.


(second report: 11:26 a.m. - Dec. 9, 2022)

MISSOULA - The lockdown at Big Sky High School in Missoula has been lifted, according to Missoula County Public Schools.

Missoula Police Department spokeswoman Lydia Arnold told MTN news the lockdown has been lifted an there was "no threat found."


(first report: 11:05 a.m. - Dec. 9, 2022)

MISSOULA - Big Sky High School in Missoula is now under a lockdown.

A message sent to parents and students states the decision was made "in response to a 911 call."

Missoula County Public Schools (MCPS) states additional information will be provided as it becomes known.

Missoula Police Department spokeswoman Lydia Arnold says "there have been false reports" of shootings across the US.

Arnold said in a message to MTN News that "MPD is on scene ensuring the school is safe."

A message sent by MCPS states several school districts across Montana have "reported receiving threats around school violence."

"These threats have not been substantiated so far; however, MCPS is being extra cautious and vigilant today," the message states.

Read the full message from MCPS below:

"Multiple schools districts across Montana have reported receiving threats around school violence. These threats have not been substantiated so far; however, MCPS is being extra cautious and vigilant today. In the event we receive any threats of violence at our schools, we will initiative an immediate lockdown and directly message any affected staff and families of students. We will provide updates as often as we are able until the threat investigation can be concluded and we can determine whether the threat is substantiated. We remain in close communication with local law enforcement."

Law enforcement in Billings, Helena, Miles City, Forsyth and Gallatin County have investigated similar threats.

“This is likely an orchestrated hoax tactic called swatting,” Division of Criminal Investigation Administrator Bryan Lockerby said. “We are assisting with the coordination of these incoming threats to further the investigation and identify the source of the calls.”

A similar series of hoax calls have also been reported recently in other states including South Dakota and Oklahoma.

Columbia Falls High School administrators report they became aware of a threat, written on a girls’ bathroom stall and directed toward the school for Dec. 9 on Thursday. Following an investigation, law enforcement determined that the threat was not considered credible.