Investigators say ‘swatting’ caller reported false shooting in Collier County

Reporter: Taylor Petras Writer: Jack Lowenstein
Published: Updated:
Credit: WINK News.

An unknown caller is accused of making a prank call to police, saying he shot his neighbors and planned to shoot more in what’s known as a “swatting” incident.

When Collier County deputies responded, they found a surprised family and no evidence of a shooting. It happened at a home on Autumn Haze Drive in North Naples on Saturday.

The family was confused when deputies showed up at their door as no one had been shot or injured in any way.

It was a call to Naples Police Department that sent Collier County deputies rushing to the reported scene. The caller said he shot his neighbors and was going back to finish the job.

“I would have been petrified to see,” Eric Richy said. “I wouldn’t have even known what was going on. All the sudden the entire force shows up?”

When deputies got to the home of the reported shooting, they found the family inside was OK.

Rich Kolko, WINK News Safety & Security specialist, said these “swatting” calls are dangerous for everyone.

“It’s dangerous to the people in the home,” Kolko said. “It’s dangerous to the police force that has to respond there, and it’s dangerous to the people in the city that don’t have the police in action able to respond to real crimes at the time.”

Richy and other neighbors say he’s sad to see it happen not only in his neighborhood but to his local law enforcement too.

“All this hatred toward the police and law enforcement,” Richy said. “Just do what they say. They don’t want to do harm to you.”

Kolko says the number of “swatting” calls across the country has gone up significantly. He says agencies are trying to train their 911 dispatchers to recognize when something might not be right so they can pass that information on to responding officers.

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