Man sentenced to 7 years for Westfield High School threat hoax


A New Mexico man who pleaded guilty to making a hoax call about a threat at Westfield High School in 2021 has been sentenced to seven years in federal prison.

On Jan. 25, 2021, a threat was called into WHS, prompting a two-hour lockdown. The Westfield Police Department later confirmed that there was no danger to the school or the public, and that the call had originated from out of state. An investigation showed similar calls were made from the same telephone number to governmental entities in other states, both before and after the incident at WHS. None of those calls proved to be credible threats.

James Thomas Andrew McCarty, 21, of Kayenta, N.M., was sentenced in June after pleading guilty to two charges of making false calls. He also pleaded guilty to two separate crimes of aggravated identity theft since he used identities of actual students when he placed those calls.

According to the United States Attorney’s Office District of Arizona, which prosecuted the case, McCarty called school officials identifying himself as a student and said he was outside the school with a rifle, a handgun and propane bottles. A similar call was made to an Oklahoma school 20 minutes later.

McCarty also pleaded guilty to two hoax calls made on April 16, 2021, and May 20, 2021.

Additionally, McCarty pled guilty to hacking a Ring doorbell account at a home in Florida in November 2020, calling local police and saying he had killed a woman and was holding a hostage at that home. McCarty livestreamed the law enforcement response and posted a message that he “thought it was funny,” according to a release from the United States Attorney’s Office.

McCarty also made multiple hoax calls to authorities in California.

The investigation was conducted by the FBI, with assistance from the Westfield Police Department and local authorities in New Jersey, Georgia, Oklahoma and Ohio.