ST. PAUL – The state Bureau of Criminal Apprehension says they’re tracking at least nine hoax calls to 9-1-1 over the past two days making active shooter threats against schools across Minnesota. BCA Superintendent Drew Evans says, “So far we’ve been alerted that they’ve occurred in Duluth, Ely, Eveleth, Brainerd, Bemidji, Austin, Alexandria, Crookston and Albert Lea — and certainly we’re tracking if additional have come in, but those are the ones we’re aware of at this time.”

The Minnesota BCA says the threats are similar in nature: The person claims they’re outside of a school, threatens to engage in an active shooter situation, and gunshots are then heard at the end of the call. Evans says it’s an “extremely serious crime,” and with the assistance of federal agencies they’re working to determine where the calls came from.

The Minnesota BCA says the calls seem to be originating from a similar locale and use what’s called “Voice Over IP,” an internet-based protocol which criminals can use to mask their location. Evans says, “With our federal partners who are tracking this activity across the United States, we have the ability to track back through the investigation where some of these calls originated from.”