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Alexandria police investigate two swatting calls within a week

Police car lights (file photo)

(Updated at 1/13) The Alexandria Police Department is investigating two recent swatting calls within a week. In both fake 911 calls, a male admitted to a terrible shooting crime, prompting a significant police response.

On 11:25 p.m. on Sunday (Jan. 8), a male told a 911 dispatcher that he “accidentally” shot his brother in the chest after playing with their father’s gun.

The caller told police that the shooting occurred in an apartment in the 5400 block of Richenbacher Avenue near Holmes Run. Four APD cruisers responded to the apartment building and found that no incident occurred. They spent a half-hour patrolling the area and speaking with neighbors before leaving, according to the police scanner.

“This was a fake call,” Tracy Walker, the APD communications manager, told ALXnow. “We responded but did not find any evidence of an injury or shots being fired.”

Three days later, on Wednesday (Jan. 10) at around 11:15 p.m., a male called 911 and said that he shot and killed his wife, that there were kids in the home and that he was going to kill himself, according to the police scanner. A dispatcher told responding officers that the caller was crying during the call.

“Multiple officers responded, however, the incident was unfounded and determined to be a swatting call,” Walker said. “There is no threat to the community as a result.”

Northern Virginia has gotten its fair share of swatting calls over the years. The most recent incident in Alexandria occurred last summer, when someone told a 911 dispatcher that he was a 15-year-old male and was tired of his parents, was armed with his father’s AR-15 rifle and was going to kill them and himself.

“These crimes are not victimless,” said Alexandria Police Chief Don Hayes. “An incident of swatting can be traumatic for a community and have tragic consequences. Making a false report compromises the safety of everyone involved, including our officers.”

Falsely summoning law enforcement is a Class 1 misdemeanor, punishable by up to a year in jail and/or a $2,500 fine.

Anyone with information on this incident should call the APD non-emergency number at 703-746-4444. Callers can remain anonymous.

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