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Swatting | Prank call to 911 causes heavy police response for unsuspecting San Diego family

Swatting causes police resources to be used for a prank event instead of helping the community and could lead to State and Federal charges.

SAN DIEGO — San Diego police say a local family were victims of a not-so-funny hoax Monday, May 16. The term for the hoax is “swatting” - when someone calls police purporting a serious crisis or emergency when in reality, none of it is real. 

Police say, not only is their response to these calls real, so are the consequences for whoever is responsible.There is recording of the police scanner audio from after the 911 was received.

Warning: The transcript below of the 911 call includes graphic imagery and may not be suitable for everyone:

Dispatch: "He says he just killed his mother. He's now holding a gun to his sister's head. She's unconscious. He knocked her out. No one (inaudible) in the house. Mother is on the kitchen floor dead."

Dispatch: "Suspect is gonna be a white male juvenile. He's 15 years old and he's wearing a blue shirt, black pants."

Dispatch: "He said that he shot her. (inaudible) sister."

Dispatch: "Affirmative. He says that his mom is laying in the kitchen on the floor. He says (inaudible) for the sister. He's in the sister’s room. He says the sister is the same age as him, born 9 months apart."

Dispatch: "He says if we keep asking questions he's going to kill her. We keep asking him where he got the gun. And he says he got it from someone at school."

Dispatch: "The suspect refuses to answer where in the house. He's still threatening to kill the sister. He's getting irate when asked where in the house and he's denying any hallucinations."


Lt Adam Sharki with San Diego Police said their officers believed they were responding to a hostage situation Monday night. "We call it a hoax but there's nothing funny about this," he adds.

There was another “swatting” incident on May 7th in San Diego. Lt. Sharki says SDPD doesn’t get the luxury of questioning whether a serious sounding call is a joke. 

RELATED: Ohio gamer sentenced to 15 months in prison for 'swatting' case

“(We come with) a large police response. They think there's some kind of emergency inside, that someone has been shot or held hostage and we have to take those situations seriously." 

Lt. Sharki says these calls also take a serious toll on their unsuspecting victims. "We have to have them come outside. We have to go in the home and make sure there's no emergency. And if these folks are uninvolved, if they're completely unwitting participants in this hoax call, it's incredibly traumatic for someone to have to endure that."

Lt. Sharki also adds that the entire community is affected because officers are pulled from working to keep others across the city safe. "We pull other resources from other parts of time to cover those streets. It's a tremendous problem whenever it happens. We do our best to hold people accountable. Anytime we can work these cases and hold someone responsible, we'd like to do that. Because it's a drain on the community, it's a drain on the family or whoever the occupants of that dwelling are and we do our best to make sure those people don't do it again."

According to the dispatch audio, the call didn’t come in from a typical 911 phone line so it has been harder to trace. Lt. Sharki says that SDPD is actively working to find the person or people responsible and they could face state and or federal charges.

RELATED: All County law enforcement now able to refer to Mobile Crisis Response Team

WATCH RELATED: El Cajon brothers create emergency response app inspired by father's call to 911 dispatch


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