Police from multiple agencies surrounded a Kingston, Wash., home Saturday after someone reported that a man had shot his 14-year-old daughter because she got pregnant.
It turns out the shooting never happened and the girl didn’t exist. Police believe someone made up the story, angry about getting kicked off a gaming website.
Kitsap County Sheriff’s Deputy Scott Wilson says 911 dispatchers received a TTY series of texts, usually reserved for the hearing-impaired, from someone claiming to be a boy hiding in a bathroom. The caller said his father had shot his sister.
Police responded in full force, including officers from Kitsap County, Bainbridge Police, the Suquamish Tribe and the North Kitsap Fire Department.
Dave Neumann was spotted outside the home was ordered to show his hands and get on the ground, which he did. His two sons were also ordered out of the home. Neumann was handcuffed and read his rights.
After deputies checked the home and discovered Neumann didn’t have a daughter, he was released.
The family had just become the latest victims of “swatting” – in which someone calls 911 in the hopes of getting huge police response, particularly a SWAT team.
One of the sons, 16-year-old Jacob, was playing “Minecraft” online with other players around the world. Jacob is an administrator for the group. When one of the player put some mean-spirited comments in the chat section, Jacob kicked him off.
Jacob said the player then threatened him over the headset.
"He was like, 'Yo dude. You kicked me off line. I'm going to swat your house,’" said Jacob.
He didn't take the call too seriously, but police say the player made good on the threat. A few hours later, Jacob saw a deputy with a rifle heading into his backyard.
"My dad was like seriously pretty scared for his life and so was me and my brother," said Jacob, "It was awful.”
Wilson said “swatting” tactics are very concerning because of all the risks and costs that go with it, including several emergency responders speeding to a scene. Plus, they are responding to a false alarm when they may be needed someplace else.
Because the suspect is from Canada, Wilson said it’s unclear whether that person will face charges in Washington state.