Its pretty sad that some this this stuff is funny. Who will get the blame when someone gets hurt or killed?

Hoax draws large law enforcement response to Duluth home
By Brady Slater Today at 9:15 a.m.

The scanner call came in just after 7:30 a.m. today: A man had killed a relative with a shotgun and tied up another as a hostage and was seeking ransom.

Authorities from all surrounding agencies converged on the home along East Calvary Road in Rice Lake. They were ready for anything, but suspicious.

What they found was a pair of teenage boys occupying a quiet residential home.

“We got here and there was nothing going on,” St. Louis County Sheriff’s Office Lt. Todd Abernethy said, describing what is called a “swatting call.” Online references to the term described it as a cyber crime and a high-tech prank call.

It’s just the latest challenge for law enforcement — presenting high-alert responses to situations that are incongruous with the outlandish crime reported in the call.

“This isn’t the first time,” Abernethy said. “Solway Township had one not long ago.”

The call didn’t come from within the home, he said, rather the false 911 calls can emanate from far off places across the globe.

As squad cars and other response vehicles cleared out, Abernethy spoke about the impact of the hoax, in particular on the potential safety of the people at the response site.

“Can you imagine if we got here and they were playing Airsoft?” Abernethy said, citing the popular pellet-type guns that appear as near replicas of real gun hardware.

All told, the sheriff’s office was joined at the home by the Duluth, Hermantown and Proctor police departments, the Minnesota State Patrol, Gold Cross Ambulance and officers with the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources Enforcement Division.

“That’s a lot of resources wasted — pulling people away from their areas,” Abernethy said.

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