Charlottesville police rushed to the site of a reported shooting on Monday morning but declared it a “swatting call” after assessing the scene.
“Upon arrival, we learned that the shooting the caller described was not true,” police department spokesman Kyle Ervin told The Daily Progress.
“Swatting” is when an individual reports a serious crime to police in order to have heavily armed police appear at a person’s address. Essentially, it is a hoax phone call.
“Swatting would infer that the call we received was false. No one was shot or injured,” Ervin said.
Virginia recently categorized swatting as a Class 1 misdemeanor effective July 1. Someone convicted of calling in a fake emergency can be punished with a $2,500 fine and up to 12 months in jail.
The shooting was reported on the 2000 block on Michie Drive. Speaking from the scene, Police Chief Michael Kochis told media that an unidentified person called the emergency center claiming “that he had just shot a relative in the chest.”
“Our officers arrived, when they got here, there was an update to the call, where the person alleged that he might as well take more people with them when we got here,” Kochis said. “And so obviously, it’s a very different dangerous situation for everyone.”
Ervin said an investigation is ongoing. No suspect has been identified.
Last fall, two swatting hoaxes reporting an active shooter at Buford Middle School sparked fear and confusion among students and parents.
"This false report caused extreme stress and disruption at Buford and in our community," reads a statement from the city last October.