‘Swatting’ incidents spark scares at 3 Florida colleges

False active shooter calls reported at college campuses in Miami-Dade, Hollywood, Fort Lauderdale

MIAMI-DADE COUNTY, Fla. – Authorities are investigating swatting incidents that occurred Tuesday morning at both Florida International University’s main campus in west Miami-Dade and City College in Hollywood, according to News 6 partner WPLG-TV.

Local 10 News was told that an active shooter was reported on the Modesto A. Maidique Campus off Southwest Eighth Street, but a spokeswoman for the university confirmed a short time later that the “all clear” had been given by police.

Earlier in the morning, Miami-Dade police, Sweetwater police and FIU police surrounded the campus after receiving reports of a shooting inside the College of Nursing building.

Miami-Dade Fire Rescue crews also responded to the campus.

Police outside City College in Hollywood on May 2, 2023. (WPLG)

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“I saw a lot of people here -- the fire department, police, everyone,” a student identified only as Ashley said. “I was just going to go through and they told me, ‘I don’t think you want to go through because there’s an active shooter.”

Another student told Local 10 News that she received an alert on her cellphone that read, “A dangerous situation is occurring. Evacuate the area now.” She said the message stated that there was possible shots fired at the College of Nursing building.

The reports of shots fired shut down the east side of the campus temporarily as officers with long guns worked to secure the area and evacuate the College of Nursing and its neighboring building.

“A friend saying inside that they were just hiding. They recommended them to start hiding and looking for shelter, running or go somewhere,” one student said.

There were also graduation ceremonies going on on the west side of the campus.

Some were in panic over the thoughts of an active shooter. But after 90 minutes, FIU police were able to determine this was a swatting call.

“These things actually happen -- this is not something to joke about,” Ashley said.

“While some may think it’s funny, it is not funny at all. It’s an incredible drain on resources. First responders are somewhere that they don’t need to be,” FIU Chief of Police Alexander D. Casas said.

A call regarding a shooting was also reported Tuesday morning at City College, located at 6565 Taft Street in Hollywood.

Hollywood police spokeswoman Deanna Bettineschi said the incident also appears to be a swatting call and no one was injured on campus.

Fort Lauderdale police confirmed its officers, meanwhile, responded to the Florida Atlantic University/Broward College building at 111 East Las Olas Blvd. Tuesday after receiving a “suspicious call.”

Police have since given the all clear and said they did not find any evidence of a shooting nor any injured people.

A “swatting call” is the practice of making a prank call to emergency services in an attempt to create a large police presence at a specific location.

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About the Authors:

Amanda Batchelor is the Digital Executive Producer for Local10.com.

Joseph Ojo joined Local 10 in April 2021. Born and raised in New York City, he previously worked in Buffalo, North Dakota, Fort Myers and Baltimore.