A "swatting" incident at the Middlesex School drew police and fire officials from towns around Concord. The report of an active shooter proved to be false. Photo by Jennifer Lord Paluzzi

Threatening call puts Middlesex School on lockdown

February 14, 2023

A “swatting” incident shut down the Middlesex School Tuesday morning after Concord Police received a 911 call reporting an active shooter on the school grounds.

“We are thankful this was not an actual threat or danger to the school or its community,” Concord Police Chief Thomas Mulcahy


“Calls like the one we received today take valuable resources away from other potential emergency responses,” he added. “Our officers train for these types of events, and we are thankful that these threats were ultimately unfounded. As a department we are pleased that our training has us well-prepared for incidents such as this.”

The incident was among several reported around the state both Monday and Tuesday, with Ipswich, Fitchburg, Clinton, and Duxbury among the targeted school systems.

The threatening phone call came in at about 10:15 a.m, with a male reporting there was an active shooter with weapons on the grounds of Middlesex School on Lowell Road.

Concord Police Department immediately responded to the school, implementing established policies and procedures, which included requesting a significant mutual aid police and emergency response, and a lockdown of the school.

Police from the Acton, Carlisle, Lexington, and Lincoln Police Departments, and responders from the Concord Fire Department were on the scene within minutes.

Teams from Concord and other responding departments conducted a comprehensive search of the school campus, including buildings and dormitories, and the surrounding neighborhood and turned up no threats.

Mulcahy expressed gratitude to all responding agencies for their swift and professional response, and thanked the Middlesex School for its coordination and collaboration during this incident.

“Swatting,” according to Oxford Language is “the action or practice of making a prank call to emergency services in an attempt to bring about the dispatch of a large number of armed police officers to a particular address.” The phrase entered the dictionary in 2015 and has been recognized as a criminal phenomenon by the FBI since at least 2008.

The incident remains under active investigation by the Concord Police Department, which is attempting to determine the source of the call.

Concord Police have been in communication with state and federal law enforcement agencies, which are investigating a series of incidents targeting communities around the Commonwealth this week.