Junction City PD seeks info on caller who "swatted" local man
Junction City police want answers behind a false call that sent multiple agencies to a home where a supposed triple homicide took place.
On Saturday afternoon, a man called Junction City authorities claiming he’d killed his mom and two brothers, and was barricaded in his bedroom with weapons. The caller also said he wouldn’t go to jail, preferring to die.
Personnel including some from the Oregon State Police and Lane County Sheriff’s Office responded, expecting a violent and tragic situation. But JCPD Chief Bob Morris told KLCC that it was a prank, commonly called “swatting,” named for armored and trained personnel who form Special Weapons And Tactics (SWAT) units.
“We had nine to ten police officers removed from service for a good portion of Lane County because we’re all committed to this one specific location that turns out to be nothing more than a hoax.”
Morris said the caller was impersonating the man who owned the home, who was away during the incident. No one was harmed, but the situation could have turned deadly.
"We had no choice but to respond to it and treat it as if it was actually as it was reported, in order to ensure officer safety as well as citizen safety," he said. "It is a horrible prank.”
Chief Morris said this was the fourth such case in six years. He said such hoaxes cost personnel, time, and money, but more importantly, can cost lives. He added “swatting” is particularly common among online gamers, so people should not share personal data with strangers in that forum.
Anyone with information on the incident is encouraged to call the Junction City Police Department at (541)998-1245.