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Forest Grove Police respond to hoax in 'swatting' incident

Forest Grove Police officers responded to a report at 6:10 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 9, that a woman had been shot in the 3300 block of Main Street and that the suspect had barricaded himself in a room with the victim.

Police shut down streets in the area and made contact with the occupants of the home, who were “fully cooperative and stated no such incident had occurred,” according to Capt. Mike Herb, spokesman for the FGPD.

The male homeowner told police he was an “avid online gamer” and that “this was not his first experience with [a] hoax requiring an emergency response,” Herb said. About two years ago, he told officers, a prank call regarding a gas leak in his home was made, resulting in a fire department response.

The resident suspects someone in the online gaming community in both incidents.  "Swatting" is a term describing a false call made to emergency services of an ongoing critical incident and derives from the word SWAT (Special Weapons Attack Team), a specialized police unit that often responds to such incidents. “These incidents have become fads in the gaming community, where players livestream game play and are watched by other gamers that phone in the false reports,” noted Herb.  “Calling in a false report of this nature is costly, can exhaust resources for hours and pulls emergency services away from legitimate calls for assistance,” Herb said. “They can cause panic and duress for homeowners and neighbors.”

Making false reports of this nature can result in serious charges, including but not limited to, improper use of emergency reporting system and initiating a false report. Anyone with information about this incident is asked to call Forest Grove Police at 503-992-3260.