HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WHNT) – Huntsville Police responded to what officers are calling a hoax emergency call at the Lake Forest subdivision Tuesday night. Meanwhile, a 15-year-old boy says he was the target.
Officers tell WHNT News 19 the call is known as “swatting”. The caller makes a hoax call to 911 to draw a response from law enforcement, usually a SWAT team. Sometimes “swatting” is done for revenge, and sometimes it’s done as a prank. Either way, it is a serious crime with serious consequences. For more on “swatting” click here.
Tuesday evening, officers blocked the entrance to Lake Forest Boulevard, off of Martin Road near Zierdt Road, for more than 30 minutes. Before they determined this incident was a hoax, they also went door to door near the home in question to urge residents to use safety precautions.
“We had just gotten home from work and had the doorbell ring,” said Debbie Craig. “We came to the door and a policeman was there and told us to stay away from the windows, away from the doors… which is pretty frightening when they just tell you that then go off.”
About 30 police cars, state troopers, fire trucks, and emergency vehicles swarmed the Lake Forest neighborhood.
The apparent target: a 15-year-old.
“Basically someone tried to extort me,” the teen told WHNT News 19. “I do server security over the Internet, and I guess a hacker tried to pull this stunt.”
The teen says he had been threatened before the incident that this could happen.
“He would say ‘I’ll swat you, give me money or I’ll swat you, buy me this otherwise I swat you,'” he said.
After police discovered the call was a hoax, the teen says he told police about the threats.
Police are investigating to determine who made the call.
Editor’s Note: For security reasons, we have updated our story and removed the video to protect the teen’s identity.