A threat made online, that caused the Medicine Hat Hospital to go into lockdown Tuesday night (May 5), has turned out to be a bad prank.
Medicine Hat Police say that city’s 911 communications centre received a report from a man in St. Louis, Missouri around 9:15 p.m. on Tuesday (May 5), that a manifesto containing the threat had been posted to the internet platform known as Reddit. The hospital was locked down and investigators began tracing the origin of the message.
It was determined that a 12-year-old boy with ties to Medicine Hat, but who now lives in Airdrie, had been playing video games online with unknown people around North America, when one of the other players became angry and said they were going to “swat” the boy. “Swatting” means making a prank call to emergency services in an attempt to dispatch a large number of armed officers.
The IP address of the online threat was further traced to the Seattle, Washington area, eliminating the boy from Airdrie as the suspect.
Once it was determined there was no credible threat, the lockdown at the hospital was lifted and the threat has since been removed from the website.
Medicine Hat Police are also urging parents to speak with their children about the dangers of online multiplayer gaming.