AP NEWS

30 homes evacuated during hostage situation hoax in Nash County

August 24, 2017 GMT

Nash County authorities are investigating a bogus report Wednesday night of a hostage situation.

Brandon Medina, chief deputy with the Nash County Sheriff’s Office, said someone called 911 at about 8 p.m. to report that a person had been shot in the chest inside a home in the 5200 block of Overlook Drive in Elm City and that a gunman was holding three people hostage inside. The caller indicated the shooter made some demands and threatened to shoot law enforcement officers if they approached the house, Medina said.

Several agencies, including a SWAT team, responded to the scene, and 30 homes were evacuated as a precaution.

“It affected all the neighbors that are standing out here. We had to evacuate everybody out for their safety. It’s just a precaution because you never know what you’re going to walk in to,” Medina said.

Investigators eventually determined that the call was a hoax but did not know the reason why the false call was placed.

The hoax, known as swatting, involves fake 911 calls – phone apps are used to make it appear as if the call is coming from a targeting residence or business – that are often used to send SWAT teams out. Law enforcement arrive on the scene on high alert, believing they have to contain a violent subject, only to encounter a frightened and bewildered resident.

“We respond to calls like that. We don’t hesitate to call everybody we can, so we activated our special response team,” Medina said. “We take every precaution, especially after what happened in Halifax County. We’re going to come and respond appropriately.”

On Monday, four people were found dead in a Halifax County home after a home invasion. A $13,000 reward is being offered for information that leads to an arrest in that case.