ANNABELLA — Police officers from three agencies responded to a report of a shooting in Annabella to find it to be false Saturday.
“All they found was the homeowner working on his tile,” said Sevier County Sheriff Nate Curtis.
The incident occurred when dispatch received a report at approximately 4 p.m., from someone who had claimed he shot family members and was threatening to kill himself.
“We approached it cautiously,” Curtis said. “We were getting details from dispatch, but we didn’t have a complete picture.”
As it turned out, the home belonged to one of Curtis’s deputies, and there was nothing wrong.
The incident is what’s known as “swatting,” Curtis said.
Swatting is a form of harassment where someone makes a false report designed to get a significant response from law enforcement.
“Everything was OK, but we are still investigating,” Curtis said. He said detectives are working on ways to track the call and find out from where it originated.
Curtis said while no one was injured, the people living in the home are concerned as to why they were targeted.
He also said making false reports can create a dangerous situation for those responding, as well as citizens at large.
“We had cops coming fast,” Curtis said. “Every person they passed, there could have been a potential for risk.”
One such case of swatting ended in the death of a Wichita Kansas man in 2017. The man was swatted over a disagreement over a video game. Three men were charged federally for the incident in Kansas.
Curtis said while no one was injured in Saturday’s incident, charges could also filed against whoever was responsible for the false report.