Stamford PD: 911 hostage call was ‘swatting’ prank

Posted: Updated:

Police swarmed a Stamford house Monday night after a false report of hostages.

They were victims of a "swatting" prank -- a false 911 call intended to provoke a SWAT team dispatch.

"If you try sending a SWAT team or a sheriff's department, I'm just going to shoot you all, OK?" the caller says in 911 recordings.

That caller reported a shooting and hostage situation on Cedar Heights Road around 11 p.m., says Assistant Chief Tom Wuennemann, of the Stamford Police Department.

"We found out the whole thing was a hoax," he says.

Police arrived, locked down the entire neighborhood and found no guns or hostages. They say they think a teen in Ireland is responsible for hacking into a family's gaming system to make the call.

"If you can take your server and go through a virtual private network, and bounce it off of a variety of different servers, it's very difficult to state where the actual call originated," Wuennemann says.

"Swatting" has become such a problem that state lawmakers recently made it a felony. Two years ago, a similar prank resulted in lockdowns at all 17 Fairfield schools. In Greenwich, another call prompted the local SWAT team to raid an innocent family's home.

"Not all of them end this quickly and safely," Wuennemann says. "Accidents have happened in other places, across the country."

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