STOUGHTON (CBS) – A “swatting” call led to a large police response in a Stoughton neighborhood as a report of an armed robbery turned out to be unfounded.
Residents in the Pearl Street neighborhood evacuated, nearby businesses were closed and schools were put on lockdown, creating concern and confusion for about two hours Friday.
“They told you, you need to get out in ten minutes,” one resident said. “I was scared because I didn’t know what was going on.”
It came in as a call that someone was trapped in the bathroom of an apartment building. The man calling told police five suspects entered, heavily armed.
All Stoughton officers raced to the scene, Canton PD and State Police responded as well and eventually the State Police Air Wing was overhead.
Regional SWAT with its armored vehicles and tactical teams set up a perimeter.
“In light of Officer Gannon’s death we thought this was an appropriate reaction to such a dangerous call until we continued the investigation and determined this was a swatting call,” said Stoughton Police Chief Donna McNamara.
Swatting is a term used when someone fakes a call to cause a massive police response.
“I’m glad it’s just a hoax,” said Billy Franks, who lives inside the multi-unit building. He wasn’t home at the time, but police called him and the other residents to make sure they were OK.
Police say they were able to determine one of the residents had her identity stolen, including her phone number which was used to make the fake call.
“Numerous resources were spent, but that’s priceless to keep people safe,” Chief McNamara said.
No arrests have been made and police are still investigating who made the call.