Teen Arrested In Willimantic ‘Swatting’ Hoax

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WILLIMANTIC — Police have arrested a 14-year-old boy in connection to a hoax call on Tuesday where a distraught person claimed to have shot his mother inside their home on High Street.

The call tied up a dozen police officers and led to lockdowns at Eastern Connecticut State University, Windham High School and Kramer School for several hours before the prank was uncovered.

The teen is charged with second-degree false report, falsely reporting an incident concerning serious injury or death, disorderly conduct and conspiracy.

He was released to his parents and will appear in juvenile court next week.

“It’s a lot more serious than a prank. It puts the residents’ lives in danger. They don’t know what’s going on, there’s dozens of police officers surrounding their house. It’s also puts the officers in danger, said Det. Douglas Glode.

About a dozen police officers and detectives responded to High Street, while the caller, who identified himself by name as the homeowner, continued to speak with dispatchers. A hostage negotiator was patched through to the caller, who said he had shot his mother, had a gun in his hand and was afraid to come outside, police said.

The residents of the home noticed the police activity and some of them exited the house to find out what was happening. Four juveniles and an adult male from the house were interviewed at the scene. Police then learned the incident had not taken place.

Detectives received a tip about a potential suspect behind the hoax. They found the 14-year-old suspect walking in the rain and brought him to his home.

The teen has admitted holding a grudge against one of the juvenile residents of the house and to paying someone from Great Britain to “swat” the address in the emergency call. The caller tried masking his British accent, police said.

The teen also told police he walked to the house on High Street and walked away when he saw the police cars, police said.

“Swatting” is where someone calls in a false report to police, sometimes using technology that makes it look as if they are calling from the victim’s home. In this incident the homeowner’s name was used to make it appear realistic, police said.

By Hilda Muñoz, Hartford Courant

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