SHU Students Not Notified after Swatting Incident at Notre Dame

On Thursday, April 11, Notre Dame Catholic High School was placed on lockdown after receiving a phone call containing threats of violence.

Around 1 p.m. on April 11, Fairfield police were notified of the situation and immediately arrived on scene at the school. It was then determined that all students and staff were safe and that the phone call was likely a swatting incident.

According to the Fairfield police, swatting refers to a fake phone call where a crime is reported to first responders to cause alarm to the public when first responders report to the scene.

Gary MacNamara, Chief and Executive Director of Public Safety & Government Affairs at Sacred Heart University, said that SHU Public Safety was notified of the situation when the police arrived on scene.

“The way in which it came in, it had all the ear markings of a fictitious report,” said MacNamara. “The school administrators took the appropriate action by locking down the school, notifying the police, and then the information as it was gleaned and as the officers arrived on scene determined that it was more likely than not a hoax.”

MacNamara said that a similar issue arose when he was Chief of Police in Fairfield, and it’s important to take precautions in these situations.

“No one’s going to go back to a normal school day after the [lockdown], so they made the determination to dismiss early,” said MacNamara.

Sophomore Dylan Brown, who was at SHU’s West Campus at the time of the lockdown, said that he believes that Notre Dame handled the situation properly.

“No matter where the call came from, I think it’s better safe than sorry. They’re obviously practicing their safety, and they put it to use,” said Brown. “I feel like that’s why we practice that stuff in school, to be safe.”

The Fairfield police said in a statement that they are undergoing an investigation to determine the source of the phone call, and, according to MacNamara, the investigation remains ongoing as of April 16.

According to News 12 Connecticut, the belief is that the phone call came from out of state.

“It’s not only the state; a lot of this is done through IP addresses and the internet. The belief is that it was done over some sort of an IP address as opposed to just a straight up phone number,” said MacNamara.

Activities remained ongoing at SHU during the lockdown, and there was no email or text blast sent to inform the SHU community of the situation. According to MacNamara, the situation was quickly determined to not be any sort of threat.

“It was deemed not to be a threat, so there was no threat to the school and no threat to the Sacred Heart campus as a whole,” said MacNamara. “We responded to the incident at Notre Dame and met with the Fairfield police.”

Sophomore Tom Remmen said that he believes that the situation was resolved with no remaining threats if SHU students weren’t notified.

“I think I trust the people who made the decision, so if they didn’t let us know about this, I’m confident that the threat was neutralized and they didn’t want to cause more panic over it,” said Remmen, who was in class at West Campus at the time of the lockdown.

“If we weren’t formally alerted, there was probably a good reason why. It’s just that whoever decided that knows what they’re doing,” said Remmen.

MacNamara said that Notre Dame sent out an email to parents and families of students to inform them of the situation and their decision-making once the school went into lockdown.

Notre Dame is located across Jefferson Street from SHU’s main campus and is adjacent to the Martire Center for Liberal Arts.

The Spectrum previously reported that SHU and the Diocese of Bridgeport reached an agreement to purchase Notre Dame for $15 million on Feb. 1.

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