Deputies Respond to Rash of False Claims of Shootings in Latest Round of Resource-Wasting ‘Swatting’
Misreporting a crime is a crime in itself, and misreporting a shooting, murder, or hostage situation can lead to unintended, violent, and potentially fatal consequences when law enforcement investigates what is an immediate threat to individuals. But those crank calls called “swatting” go on. There were a number of such calls last summer.
There were three more on Sunday, one of which previously contained a Caesarean address and was repeatedly addressed by such calls. In either case, the Flagler County Sheriff’s MPs responded like any emergency, devouring resources and realizing in each case that it was a blow.
“Sometimes swatting calls are made to get revenge on someone for some reason, and sometimes they’re completely random,” said Sheriff Rick Staly. “The FCSO is made up of a team of highly qualified men and women with years of experience who know how to respond appropriately to calls of this kind. However, SWATTING calls are not harmless fun; they are illegal, dangerous, and have serious consequences that can distract responses to real emergencies. “
At 6:15 p.m. on Sunday, the sheriff’s 911 dispatch center received a call on the emergency number from someone who said he had just shot his mother in the head and that he was in a certain house on Blakefield Drive in Palm Coast’s Woodlands. A number with the area code 786 turned up at the shipping center, but when a commanding officer called them, a man answered, identified himself by name, and said he lived in Dayton, Ohio, and that someone might have hijacked his number. (The 786 area code is assigned to the South Florida area.) No one was home when the sheriff’s deputies initially answered the house on Blakefield Drive. But soon the homeowners came. They had no idea what was going on with the mysterious call and said no one was in the house.
Less than an hour later, a MP replied to a different address in response to threats. The address appears to be a commercial one. (The incident report edits the entire address, including the neighborhood.) A woman in the shop received a call from a man who said, “You have 10 minutes to evacuate the building before I come in and kill everyone.” The call lasted 17 seconds. She reported this to the business owner, who in turn reported it to the authorities. The call was from the same phone number that the shipping center had called about the Blakefield claim. According to the incident report, it was the fourth such “threatening” call from the same number in the past two hours, beginning at 5:18 pm
That same evening at 9:36 pm, the Sheriff’s Office received a call from someone named “Jahzi” on a different phone number from the 714 area code in the Anaheim, California area. The person said he came home on Cooper Lane to find his wife, whom he named, who was cheating on him. He said he killed her and would kill the man she cheated with, the kids, then himself with a Glock 18 and an AR15, the latter being a weapon preferred by mass shooters. “There is a history of similar calls to this address and it has been determined that it was a false report from an unknown caller,” said the sheriff’s report. The homeowners, whose names are the same as the caller, reported that everything was okay and that it was another swatting incident. But the homeowner, the report said, “does not approve of law enforcement officers coming to his home so often and does not understand that FCSO is not responsible for making the calls, only for investigating them.”
Anyone with information about these calls or related incidents is encouraged to call the Sheriff’s Office at 386-313-4911 or by email [email protected] To remain anonymous, call Crimestoppers at 1-888-277-TIPS (8477).