Aug 18, 2014 7:23 PM by Leah Kraus

Prank phone calls a waste of resources for police

It was a scary situation for the Tympani Point neighborhood in Colorado Springs when a prank phone call was placed about a shooting early Saturday morning on August 16.

Police say a man called them and said he shot his mother. He then told them he was turning the gas on in the house and that if they showed up he'd have a shoot-out with them.

Police say the hoax was a case of "swatting" -- where someone tricks 911 dispatchers into thinking that there's an actual emergency.

They say they knew that early on there was a good possibility it was a hoax when the call came in, but they still had to handle the situation as if it was real.

"Calling in something significant like this -- not only are you disrupting the neighborhood, you're disrupting the people who live at that house and you're taking away resources for emergencies throughout the city," says Lt. Sal Fiorillo with the Colorado Springs Police Department.

This can include the explosives unit, hostage negotiators and patrol officers. Police may also need to evacuate neighbors from the area.

The hoaxes can be elaborate with calls made from the other side of the country. However, on the dispatcher's screen, it looks like the call was made locally.

Fiorillo says this doesn't happen very often in Colorado Springs -- in fact, they've had only a couple cases of this kind of swatting incident in the past two years.

He says the person responsible is facing charges of false reporting which is a misdemeanor.


According to different media sources the following celebrities have been a victim of "swatting:"


  • Selena Gomez
  • Justin Timberlake
  • Ryan Seacrest
  • Rihanna 
  • Tom Cruise
  • Justin Bieber 
  • Ashton Kutcher
  • Chris Brown
  • Miley Cyrus 
  • Russell Brand
  • The Kardashians



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