A call that prompted a large police response on the 1300 block of Michael Drive on Monday afternoon turned out to be hoax — what is now commonly known to police as a “swatting” call.
Tracy Police Department received a call at 3:04 p.m. Monday from a man who said he had returned home and found his father dead from a gunshot wound. He reported that someone apparently broke a back window and then shot the older man, possibly in relation to trouble involving drugs.
Police arrived and found no signs of forced entry outside the home, nor any evidence inside that any kind of crime had occurred. Officers spoke with three people inside the house, and they confirmed that there was no crime. They were unaware that someone had called the police to report an incident at the house and didn’t know who would have made the false report.
About eight to 10 officers had surrounded the house, but after about 50 minutes, most of the officers had cleared the scene. Only a few stayed behind to talk to the people in the home and some neighbors.
“We always take these seriously and treat them as the real deal,” Lt. Tony Matuska said. “This particular one, we determined relatively quickly that it was one of these swatting incidents, one of those pranks.”
Swatting is when someone calls police to make a false report of a violent crime with the expectation that the report will draw a heavily armed police response. Matuska noted that the identity of Monday’s caller was unknown, and attempts to call him back were blocked. Investigators will follow up in an effort to find out who made the original call, and that person would face criminal charges.
The Tracy Police dispatch log notes that the person continued to call the police — threatening to shoot officers and set off pipe bombs in a neighboring home — even after officers had spoken with the residents inside the home and determined that it was all a hoax.
The dispatch log notes that the police got another call at 8:33 p.m., most likely from the original caller, stating that “some guy just shot him” at the same Michael Drive address, but he would not answer the dispatcher’s questions. That call also came from a blocked number. The residents at the home again confirmed that the report was false.