Possible ‘swatting’ incident led to school lockdown

NAUGATUCK — An anonymous call to police Wednesday afternoon led to an extensive search for a man with a gun and the lockdown of an elementary school, but police say the call may have been a “swatting” hoax as the search yielded no evidence to substantiate the call.

At about 2:30 p.m., the Naugatuck Police Department received an anonymous call from someone who reported that a “white male wearing a tank top is holding a gun in the air threatening that he will shoot the next person that comes onto his property,” police reported. The caller told police the man had facial tattoos and was at a home on Sunburst Road, but couldn’t give an exact address and provided no more information.

Officials placed Maple Hill Elementary School in a precautionary lockdown as officers canvassed the area and investigated. An officer was stationed at the school during the lockdown.

Officers spoke with numerous residents in the area of Sunburst Road and none reported seeing or hearing anything that matched the events described by the caller, police said. A search of the area found no man with gun.

About 45 minutes after receiving the call, police determined there was no immediate threat to the public and officials lifted the lockdown at the school.

Police said the anonymous call came from a phone number registered as unknown from Washington state. Police said the call may have been connected to a “swatting” incident.

Swatting is when someone makes a false report to police to elicit a large police response. Swatting incidents typically involve sending police and emergency responders to someone’s home as a prank.

The investigation into the incident and the caller remains open, police said. Police asked anyone with information regarding this incident to contact the Naugatuck Police Department at 203-729-5221 or the department’s confidential tip line at 203-720-1010.