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Photo by: Sarah Wilson - More than two dozen officers responded to an Oviedo home thinking someone carrying an assault rifle was inside. It turned out to be a hoax.
Winter Park / Maitland Observer Tuesday, Aug. 12, 2014 4 years ago

Oviedo police release 'swatting' 911 call

Hoax call released
by: Isaac Babcock Managing Editor

More than two dozen police officers surrounded an Oviedo home early Friday morning expecting to find a gunman inside, in what could have been a deadly prank.

"I have a problem," the 911 caller had said, his voice shaking. "I just shot my mom."

The call came in at 4 a.m., leading more than two dozen police officers from three agencies to respond to an Oviedo home that they soon surrounded. They expected to find a teen or young adult carrying an AR-15 assault rifle.

Oviedo police released the call audio Tuesday afternoon.

Here's a link if the above video doesn't play.

The panic in the caller's voice seems real. The 911 operator calmly tries to get the caller's phone number, but the caller says he's calling from an iPod.

As police raced to the scene and surrounded the house, the details were slow in coming. When the sleepy resident inside answered a call from a police bullhorn to step outside, the story changed quickly.

The police had the wrong house. In fact there was no emergency at all.

Police and the two residents inside the home had been victims of "swatting," when a prank caller places a 911 call that's designed to cause a large-scale response by police. Oviedo Lt. Mike Beavers said the department even dispatched its Oviedo Special Response Team and hostage negotiators to the scene.

It's unusual for the area, but not nationwide. The phenomenon began to see wide publicity in the spring of 2013, after a slew of fake calls caused mass police responses.

But police have been catching up to the pranksters. On July 30 of this year 33-year-old Jason Neff pled guilty to making fake 911 calls in Jackson, Miss., possibly facing five years in prison.

Police still don't know who pulled the Oviedo prank, asking for anyone who recognizes the voice on the call to contact detective Daniel Mattingly at 407-971-5717 or [email protected], or Crimeline at 1-800-423-8477.

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