Report of Shots Fired at Northwestern Turns Out to be ‘Swatting’ Hoax
“Alerts were issued and teams of police were dispatched”
Every time someone engages in swatting, they are putting people’s lives at risk. It’s a despicable act.
The Chicago Tribune reports:
Police: Call of shots fired at Northwestern graduate dorm was ‘swatting’ hoax
A call of shots fired that sent scores of heavily armed officers to a Northwestern University graduate dorm Wednesday afternoon was apparently a case of “swatting,” a false emergency designed to draw a large police response.
A caller reached the Evanston police from somewhere near Rockford around 2:15 p.m. and said he had shot his girlfriend at Engelhart Hall, just west of the main campus at Emerson Street and Maple Avenue. Alerts were issued and teams of police were dispatched, but officers found the woman — a Northwestern student — unharmed with “no evidence of a victim, scene or gunman,” said Evanston police Cmdr. Ryan Glew, a spokesman for the department.
“That residence has been vacant since before Thanksgiving,” Glew said of the dorm room at Engelhart. “We’re preparing to call it a swatting incident. … She was not in any danger.”
The alert initially went out to students and staff shortly before 2:30 p.m., warning them to stay away from the area of Engelhart Hall, which has apartments for Northwestern graduate students and their families. Even after police found no evidence of a victim or weapon, officers continued their search and Northwestern tweeted that people inside Engelhart “should remain behind locked doors.”
The school issued an all-clear around 4:30 p.m., more than two hours after the call was made. “The report of a man with a gun in Engelhart Hall was a hoax. … No danger to the community exists.”
“I just spent an hour huddled on the floor with students,” Mei-Ling Hopgood, an associate professor at the Medill School of Journalism, tweeted after the university confirmed the campus was safe.
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The caller should be charged with a felony (false police report) and sentenced. Then publicize it widely, as a warning to anyone who would try to do the same.
As a result of the death of a person by police, a person who wasn’t even the target of the swatting call, I hope these dangerous actions are prosecuted to the full extent of the appropriate law(s) every single time they occur.
The problem is these calls are usually routed through the Internet in ways which are nearly impossible to trace. The Wichita death call started with a gamer argument, and the gamer community started the ball rolling by giving leads which led to the perpetrator. The CA based caller was known for swatting calls. He (Tyler Barriss) posted a Twitter comment the night of the shooting: “I DIDN’T GET ANYONE KILLED BECAUSE I DIDN’T DISCHARGE A WEAPON AND BEING A SWAT MEMBER IS NOT MY PROFESSION.”
These “swatting” calls need to be treated as they treat bomb threats – real or hoaxes – and have stiff penalties (as in mandatory jail time, stiff fines, community restitution) for this.
People have been killed, families endangered, and more. Funny thing – this has been happening to Conservatives for YEARS (at least since the Obama regime came in, when read about the incident that happened to Erick Erickson, and others that Prof. Jacobson has referenced in the past).
I wonder if THIS incident, at a university, will FINALLY make lawmakers take notice and then do something to ensure justice is served to these dangers to society that think this is somehow okay.