(MITCHELL) – Law enforcement officials in Lawrence County are looking for a male who made a hoax call early this morning reporting shots fired in addition to a homicide in Mitchell.
At 3:50 a.m. Lawrence County Central Dispatch received a call from a male reporting that he had shot and killed his father at a home in the 500 block of West Vine Street. The male refused to give the dispatcher his name. He also stated that any officer that approached the home would be shot and he would kill other family members in the home.
According to a press release by Police Chief Justin Shirley, a Mitchell officer responded to the area and reported hearing three loud “pops” that could have been possible gunfire coming from the area of West Vine Street.
Officers from Mitchell, Bedford, Lawrence County, and Orange County Sheriff’s Departments, and Paoli responded in force. The Lawrence County Emergency Response Team and Bedford SWAT were activated and responded.
A perimeter was established in the area, closing several roads. The Bedford Swat team entered the home and found the family safe. During their investigation officers discovered the call was not made from that home.
Officers then went door to door to every house in the area checking on the safety of each resident. Every individual checked on was found safe.
“It is believed that the call was a hoax known as ‘Swatting’,” says Chief Shirley. “This is a criminal harassment tactic of deceiving emergency services into sending police and emergency response teams to another person’s address. This is triggered by false reporting of a serious law enforcement emergency like shots fired, a homicide, suicidal subject, or hostage situation.”
This case is still an active investigation.
“Charges will be filed against any suspects,” says Chief Shirley.
Bedford Police Chief Terry Moore says these situations are taken seriously by everyone involved.
“Innocent people are at risk when you consider entering a family home where you think someone is actively hurting someone with a weapon,” he added. “This also pulls services away from the city and causes an extreme amount of overtime for the police department by activating your swat team and calling in other officers to help with the call volume. Thankfully no one was hurt this morning.”