ELK GROVE, Calif. (KTXL) — The Elk Grove Police Department responded Friday to what they thought was a real-life hostage situation.
“We received a call that someone, they had shot somebody inside the house here,” Elk Grove Police Officer Jason Jimenez told FOX40.
Police responded to the perceived situation swiftly and appropriately. Just as quickly, the neighborhood was trying to figure out why they were on lockdown.
Officers were able to reach the homeowner by phone.
“I could immediately tell when I picked it up it was the police just by the background noise. The first thing I thought of was something happened to my husband,” said the homeowner. “All I remember is he said, ‘SWAT is surrounding your house right now.’ And he said, ‘Where are you?’ And I said, ‘I’m at work and there should be no one in the house.'”
“Swatting” has been on the FBI’s radar since 2008. Since then, some incidents have turned deadly.
“You’re putting our officers in danger. You’re putting the public in danger as we’re trying to get to this scene to try and help people,” Jimenez said. “The second part of this is, thankfully, no one was home at the time. But we would have had our SWAT team and everybody else here in place, ready to take action if needed if someone indeed was inside shot.”
Police are currently investigating where the prank call originated and say it appears that the home was randomly targeted.
“I’m disappointed that there was probably something else that was happening and all these resources were spent on something that was unnecessary,” the homeowner told FOX40.
“It’s a big waste of money. A big waste of people’s time,” neighbor Joe Wolfe said. “It’s a problem. That’s an issue. Whoever called it in definitely needs to be talked to by some of these cops or something like that.”
According to Jimenez, a prank call like swatting is a misdemeanor but if someone was to be injured or killed, felony charges would be filed.