12-year-old boy arrested for hoax call that led to SWAT team response

Young California prankster may face charges over false report that his mother had shot his father.


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SWAT team
A SWAT team during a training exercise
(Wikimedia Commons)

A 12-year-old boy in California is in hot water after he allegedly made a prank phone call to police about a fake shooting, prompting a SWAT team to respond to the imaginary incident.

The unidentified youngster was arrested Tuesday night after claiming that his mother had shot his father in the head and was hiding with the gun inside a bathroom, The Press Democrat reported, citing the Santa Rosa Police Department.

Officers responded in numbers at about 9 p.m. to the Santa Rosa address given by the boy, only to discover that he did not live there.

The boy, who was supposed to meet the police outside the residence, was nowhere to be seen, and the cellphone used to make the original call had been disconnected.

Officers readied a SWAT team to potentially enter the apartment, but were able to make contact with the occupants, who were oblivious to the emergency response being co-ordinated outside their home.

Investigators tracked the juvenile down and arrested him at his real Santa Rosa address later Tuesday night.

The Sonoma County District Attorney’s Office will decide whether to charge the boy with a misdemeanor crime after it receives an incident report, police said.

Santa Rosa Police Sgt. Christopher Mahurin described the hoax call as a case of “swatting,” where someone deliberately fabricates an emergency report to get a SWAT team to descend on a home.

Police do not believe the boy knew the occupants of the home that was targeted, and are unsure why he picked that specific address, Mahurin said.

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