SWAT team responds to unfounded call of murders in Old Town, man claims his phone was hacked
“It was a false alarm, everything’s fine,” the man told the Sun-Times after he was released by police.
A SWAT team responded to a 911 call about four murders in Old Town, but police determined it was unfounded and apparently came from a hacked phone.
Officers were dispatched to the 200 block of West Division Street shortly after 2 p.m. after a caller claimed he had killed his wife and three children, police said.
A SWAT team with rifles could be seen on the block. Shortly after 4 p.m., a man who lived in the home arrived and walked over to police.
Officers immediately handcuffed him, then released him and followed him into the building.
By 4:30 p.m., investigators determined the call to police was unfounded. The man was not kept in custody.
The man, who asked not to be named, told the Chicago Sun-Times his “phone was hacked” and used to make the fake call. “It was a false alarm, everything’s fine,” he said.
The man said officers were returning to his home later to help him file his own report.
The incident may have been a case of “swatting,” where someone purposely files a false report to send police to someone’s home, sometimes with fatal consequences.
In 2017, a Kansas gamer’s online feud with another player led to a fake call and a deadly police shooting of an innocent 28-year-old man.
A 2018 “swatting” incident shut down Northwestern University’s suburban Evanston campus. A person said he had shot his girlfriend inside an apartment at Englehart Hall, drawing a massive police presence and prompting a lockdown. Police later traced the bogus call to an area southeast of Rockford.