Arlington police descended on a family’s home last month after someone called a fake shooting into 911.
Fifteen squad cars all pulled up about 6:40 p.m. April 20 to the home in the 7700 block of Longbow Lane after a call reporting that someone at that address had just shot their neighbor, police said.
The caller told the 911 dispatcher that he would not put his gun down because he needed it for his protection, police Lt. Christopher Cook said.
With guns drawn, the officers ordered everyone inside the house to come out. They later determined that the call was fake and that no one had been shot.
Police later learned that the 911 call was a spoof call made through a masked number.
The family said they had gotten a call earlier from a 1-800 number. Someone impersonating an IRS employee demanded $5,000 and threatened to send police to the home if they did not comply.
The family refused to pay and one of the victims yelled at the scam caller over the phone. Investigators think that interaction led to the fake call — a hoax also known as “swatting,” though no SWAT members responded this time, police said.
“Luckily, no one was injured during this incident but it was very traumatic for those involved,” Cook said in a written statement.
He said innocent people have been shot on swatting calls, but in this case everyone in the house followed officer commands.
“In the event they had refused to come out of the house, it’s possible we would have had to force entry which would add more danger to everyone involved,” he said.
Investigators are continuing to search for the person who made the call. Police have urged people to hang up on scammers and not engage with them.