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Shooting hoax triggers massive police response

Original post made on Jan 9, 2019

Someone impersonating a Palo Alto resident called police on Tuesday night and falsely reported he’d just shot his wife at his University South home, prompting the police and other emergency responders to surround the home, a police department press release stated on Wednesday.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Wednesday, January 9, 2019, 3:25 PM

Comments (16)

Posted by resident
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Jan 9, 2019 at 3:35 pm

If the phone company is able to connect the call, I find it hard to believe that the call is totally untraceable.

Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jan 9, 2019 at 4:08 pm

That must have been so scary for the neighbors and completely crazy for the residents at the address. So pleased nobody there was hurt by mistake.

What is going on with all the crime in town? It is getting worse as something seems to be happening every couple of days.

Posted by musical
a resident of Palo Verde
on Jan 9, 2019 at 4:55 pm

I'd assume the call came from a burner phone.

Posted by Anon
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jan 9, 2019 at 5:27 pm

Gamers refer to this as "swatting":

Web Link

There should be a service available based on "ANI" that could determine if a local-appearing call is actually local. If this service was available and used, any emergency service like PAPD would know instantly that the call did not originate locally and thus, they could ignore someone pretending to know about an emergency in University South by someone calling from wherever. PAPD and other agencies need to start working with providers to get such services made available. There was a fatal incident in 2017 due to swatting.

Posted by Another Fool
a resident of Barron Park
on Jan 9, 2019 at 5:44 pm

What a waste of LEO manpower. Meanwhile a true emergency could have been taking place.

The clown who made the call is probably having a good laugh but should serve some serious county jail time for this irresponsible stupidity.

'Back in the day', we used to have 'bomb scares' in high school about once a year. The school secretary would then check the attendance log and the practical jokers would usually get caught. Punishment at the time was detention.

With 911 and countless school shootings now taking place, these kinds of pranks are no longer taken lightly.

Posted by Ardan Michael Blum
a resident of Downtown North
on Jan 9, 2019 at 6:00 pm

In the recent ATTEMPTED SELF HARM cases (such as the tragic death of the Redwood City teacher and/or the suicide-by-cop of a schizophrenic man with a knife during a standoff in downtown Palo Alto) there were clearly time-sensitive demands on the police which did not allow for last night's mobilization of force and the surrounding of an area for a hostage event. Yet, to go from a whole support group of various teams (example of last night) to the option of "taser or gun" (as in the self-harm cases) is a big shift!

There is a need for MUCH MORE POWERFUL NON-DEADLY OPTIONS (such as a sonic weapon) that could be part of a kit (with a S.W.A.T. hand-held shield) for response to self-harm calls. Our brave police should have a special "self-harm package" to deploy (either kept in selected police cars or stored at fire stations for pickup during emergency situations). Many lives could be saved with this investment.

Posted by Other Ways
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Jan 9, 2019 at 6:44 pm

@Ardan Michael, good point re: sonic weapon.

I'm thinking... for self-harm situations, couldn't police force just use mini versions of nonlethal weapons used in the military?

Posted by Nutso
a resident of Barron Park
on Jan 9, 2019 at 8:46 pm

what scares me is so far 10 people have liked ardan’s post. A more powerful non-deadly weapon? Sonic weapon? Like an LRAD that already exists???? Then mini-versions of nonlethal military weapons?

I feel dumber for having read this thread

Posted by CrescentParkAnon.
a resident of Crescent Park
on Jan 10, 2019 at 12:07 am

This kind of thing scares the bejeebers out of me. It is a great way to possibly
get someone killed, call in a police emergency to where they are and hope for
maximum confusion. This has been reported to have happened all over the
country where police show up to a house, or even the wrong house and in such
a state that they over-react and scare or unleash deadly force on people. Such
a false report should be handled with great seriousness and proscuted to the
fullest extent allowable by law.

I would be interested in reading a story on how these kinds of calls are handled
so as to mitigate the possibility that someone totally innocent and unsuspecting
is faced with SWAT teams of teams of police breaking through their doors.

I watched the video of the guy jumping around ... I think it was on Addison St. a
year or two back who was shot to death by police, and it felt to me just watching
it that this was an unnecessary outcome. Now, I say if a police officer feels their
life is in danger they should have the right to defend themselves, but it would
be good if three was more training and options, as well as planning in terms
of approaching these calls.

Posted by life, liberty
a resident of Palo Alto Orchards
on Jan 10, 2019 at 9:25 am

Oh, great. Further militarize the police. What could possibly go wrong?

Posted by A Simple Solution
a resident of Barron Park
on Jan 10, 2019 at 9:36 am


Simple. Use animal tranquilizer darts. Done deal.

When the perpetrator/suspect wakes-up, they will be in lock-down.

Posted by Hmmm
a resident of East Palo Alto
on Jan 10, 2019 at 10:09 am

Given who the target was, it sure increases the possibilities of who's responsible. Is PAPD up to the task of figuring this out?

Posted by Mama
a resident of Crescent Park
on Jan 10, 2019 at 11:10 am

Mama is a registered user.

Police should announce a good reward to get an informer to come forward. I am willing to contribute.
PA Online, please look into this. Let police ask for funding, and you announce where to donate. Many others will come forward as well. Very dangerous situation.

Posted by eileen
a resident of College Terrace
on Jan 10, 2019 at 12:06 pm

eileen is a registered user.

It's scary how easy it is to get someone's name and address. The call to the police came from an untraceable phone number. It could have come from anywhere in the country....

Posted by everwillow
a resident of Professorville
on Jan 10, 2019 at 3:38 pm

everwillow is a registered user.

Here's an interesting story about tracking down two swatters in real life.

Web Link

It's difficult because voice-over-ip services allow you to make phone calls using a local number by using an internet connection from anywhere in the world over the internet. The internet makes it very easy to be anonymous, although in many cases you can be traced with enough effort.

Posted by Novelera
a resident of Midtown
on Jan 10, 2019 at 5:44 pm

Novelera is a registered user.

@everwillow: Thanks for the link. Fascinating article. What's wrong with these kids?

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