MEDINA, Ohio - Investigators with the Medina County Sheriff's Office are determined to identify individuals who have tried to get the department to commit valuable resources to incidents that never actually happened twice in the past several weeks.
A caller early Wednesday identified himself as a 14-year-old boy who said he shot his father in the chest twice after witnessing him hit his mother. During the call, he repeatedly told dispatchers that he still had his gun, refused to put it down and threatened to use it on deputies when they arrived, if they intended to do anything to him.
As the call continued, authorities suspected something was wrong and quickly had their suspicions confirmed.
"The SWAT team was put on standby, fire rescue was put on standby, the command staff was notified. I was out there with the captain," said Chief Deputy Kenneth Baca.
As a precaution, school buses were not permitted to enter the neighborhood where the caller sent authorities. Mail delivery was interrupted while deputies investigated the scenario.
"There were several deputies that responded to the call and as they listened to the call, the legitimacy of the call kind of dwindled," Baca said. "We were fortunate with this that the gentleman that was supposed to have been shot in the chest just happened to have been at the bottom of the driveway walking the dog."
The crime, known as "swatting," can result in serious charges.
Investigators have since devoted resources to try and identify the caller.
"It's not a prank and we are going give it its due diligence in the way of an investigation. And when we do identify these individuals, they are going to be criminally charged for it," Baca said.
"It needs to stop they have no idea how much of a risk that they are placing the family or the individual that they are trying to target at risk."