"SWATting" Scares Family - ABC5 News Des Moines, IA

"SWATting" Scares Family

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Addie Olson



Police swarmed a Des Moines home Thursday night on reports of a shooting... turns out it was all a hoax.

Not only did the "SWATting" call waste time for police, it terrified the family inside the home where it all happened.

Sarah Campbell was home alone with her toddler when the SWAT team surrounded her house on 54th Street.

Neighbor Jim Miller saw the police flood into the neighborhood.

"They were everywhere. I mean they were in every yard and backyard and all over the place," he said. "I counted at least 23 at one point."

Sarah said officers took her out of the house and searched it while her 2-year-old was still in his crib. That's when she said police told her that her 16-year-old son, Trevor, had called 911.

The caller told police he had shot his mother and barricaded himself inside the home with guns and explosives.

But Trevor wasn't even home at the time.

"He has nothing to do with this, I mean, none of us do," said Campbell. "He had no idea, I had no idea. I was the one that was supposed to have been shot by my own son."

The whole thing was a hoax. It's called "SWATting" and police say it's hard to trace.

"They're not ignorant as to how to go about doing this to be as subversive as they can," said Sgt. Jason Halifax of the Des Moines P.D. "They have some success with it obviously. It's a big waste of time for us, it's a waste of man–power, it's a waste of money."

The family is still holding out hope that the hoaxer can be caught.

"I feel like the person that made this call ... may he get all the time you can give him," Campbell said.

Police say the call could have come from anywhere in the U.S. They're not sure at this time whether or not it can be tracked.

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