ELYRIA - Police say a group of people described as hackers are responsible for the threats that led to a lockdown at Elyria High School on Monday.
Just before noon Monday police and other local, state and federal law enforcement agencies responded to the high school on Middle Avenue for a report of a student barricaded in a bathroom with multiple weapons and propane explosive devices.
The caller identified himself as a student in the high school and told an employee of the Lorain County Emergency Management Agency that it was his desire to inflict mass casualties on students, faculty members and responding law enforcement officers, said Elyria Police Capt. Chris Costantino.
The caller identified himself with the name of a 15-year-old sophomore at the high school, Costantino said. While police were doing a sweep of the school, they removed that student from his classroom, brought him to the police department for questioning and released him the same day.
During their investigation, police determined the call did not come from the student, but from the alleged hackers who had gotten the student's information, Costantino said.
The student told police he was a victim on online harassment from this group because he refused to comply with a request, Costantino said.
The group told the student he would be subjected to "doxing" - which means the student's private information would be shared with other hackers.
The group then threatened the student with "swatting," a term for when police are deceived into sending officers to an address, in this case the high school, based on false reporting of an emergency.
Costantino said swatting is often described as terrorism due to its potential to cause disruption, wasting resources and the time of emergency services and diverting attention from real emergencies and causing possible physical or psychological harm to the person targeted by the hackers.
Elyria police are working with the FBI to locate and identify the people responsible for the incident.
Police thanked the assisting agencies who acted "courageously and without hesitation to ensure the safety of the students and staff at the high school."
Costantino also acknowledged "how orderly, calm and respectful the students were during this incident" and said it was a testament to the teachers and administrators at Elyria High School.
Elyria High School opened on schedule Tuesday.
District spokeswoman Amy Higgins said the school's staff "felt very supported" by the emergency responders.
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