‘Swatting’ call sends authorities swarming to bogus threat

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SAN DIEGO -- A bogus report that a woman had been shot in a home near San Elijo Park prompted deputies to swarm the neighborhood, leading to a brief standoff that ended when they determined that no such violence had taken place.

The fake emergency call is believed to be a case of so-called "swatting," an illegal practice intended to send law enforcement to someone's home as a frightening prank, often targeting video game players who stream live footage of their gameplay.

Dispatchers received the call at about 2:15 p.m., according to sheriff's officials.

The man who phoned in the fake emergency claimed to have shot his girlfriend at a home in the 1400 block of Clearview Way San Marcos, Lt. Glenn Giannantonio said.

Deputies rushed to the neighborhood, surrounded the residence and called out for anyone inside to exit and surrender. The nearby San Elijo Middle School briefly went on lockdown.

A man then appeared on a balcony and told them no shooting had occurred, Giannantonio said.

The resident -- a video-game enthusiast who said he had been victimized by a similar bogus 911 call -- let the personnel in, and they confirmed that there had been no gunfire and that no one was injured.

The woman who lives at the home told FOX 5 she and her husband are professional video game players who have millions of followers. She said her husband immediately put up his hands when he realized deputies were inside his home.

Investigators were working to determine who was responsible, the lieutenant said.

In December, a swatting episode led to the death of an unarmed Kansas man who was shot in front of his home by an officer responding to a false report of a family shooting and hostage situation. A Los Angeles man faces a manslaughter charge for allegedly placing the malicious call.

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