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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 Chicago police officer with a rifle helps direct traffic after a SWAT incident in the 200 block of West Division Street, in the Old Town neighborhood, Wednesday, Sept. 22, 2021. The initial call that prompted the SWAT response was found to be fake.
A Chicago police officer with a rifle helps direct traffic after a SWAT incident in the 200 block of West Division Street, in the Old Town neighborhood, Wednesday, Sept. 22, 2021. The initial call that prompted the SWAT response was found to be fake.
Tyler LaRiviere/Sun-Times

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.