A man claiming to be a Minnetonka resident called police late Saturday night and said he'd shot his wife with an AR-15. It turned out to be a false report known "swatting."
Swatting is when someone intentionally falsely "reports a dangerous crime to initiate a robust police response," Minnetonka Police Department said in a release. The Saturday night incident happened around 10:50 p.m., with the caller claiming to have shot his wife with an assault rifle, then made threats against law enforcement.
It prompted to a significant response to a residence in the 5200 block of Knob Hill Court before officers determined the report to be a hoax. No crime had been committed and at no point was anyone in the area in danger.
The Star Tribune reports that six police agencies responded to the home, with the unknowing couple sound asleep inside.
“Swatting is a dangerous prank that our department does not take lightly," said Minnetonka Chief of Police Scott Boerboom in a statement. "Incidents like Saturday’s disrupt neighborhoods, create unnecessary fear and are a strain on public safety resources. We will not tolerate swatting, and we will do everything we can to locate and charge anyone who falsely reports a crime."
No arrests have been made as investigators attempt to find out who made the call, which was done through a computer and internet connection – a method that is difficult to trace, Minnetonka PD notes.
In March, schools in Princeton, Minnesota, were placed in a soft lockdown because of a swatting incident in which someone falsely threatened violence against himself and law enforcement. The caller claimed to be in possession of multiple weapons at a residence several blocks from the district office for Princeton Public Schools.
In 2017, a man was shot and killed by a police officer in Wichita, Kansas, after a California man reported a false crime after being involved in an online video game argument.
According to the New York Times, the suspect called police with a false identity, claiming that he killed his father, was holding two family members hostage and was contemplating suicide. A 28-year-old man who stepped outside when police arrived was shot and killed when he dropped his hands. The victim had no idea that a false crime had been reported.