Arlington family victimized by ‘swatting’ call
Arlington police scrambled more than a dozen officers to the home of an Arlington family last month after a 911 call claiming to be from the same address reported a shooting, Arlington police said.
But the 911 call was a prank, police said.
"I was actually shocked, I didn't know what was going on," Fawad Ameen told Star-Telegram media partner WFAA. He said he was frightened when confronted by police with guns drawn, shouting orders.
In home surveillance video that captured the April 20 incident, Ameen and a relative slowly walk out their front door, arms raised over their heads, as police issue orders.
The family fell victim to "swatting," in which false emergencies are deliberately reported to police to draw a police response, in some cases a SWAT team response. An innocent man was shot to death in a similar incident in Kansas.
Lt. Chris Cook of the Arlington Police Department said patrol officers responded in this case and ordered all the occupants out of the house "until we could determine that no one was shot."
"It was later determined through the investigation that the 911 call was a 'spoof' call which means that the unknown caller masked the victim’s residential number to call in this false report," Cook said in a news release.
He said investigators believe the "swatting" call may have been made after the family refused to pay $5,000 to a caller from a 1-800 number who claimed to be from the IRS and said he would send police if they didn't comply with his demand.
"Luckily, no one was injured during this incident but it was very traumatic for those involved," Cook said in the news release.
He said police are trying to track down the suspect and have executed subpoenas to try and determine the identity of the IP (Internet protocol) address but have thus far been unable to identify the suspect.
"It is possible the suspect could even be overseas," he said.
Attempts to reach Ameen weren't immediately successful.