Fake 911 Call Sends Police to Congressman Rogers' Home

MGN Online
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UPDATE - It's happened to celebrities and now, a neighborhood in Howell has also seen effects of the "Swatting" prank, a national trend where people use the internet to make fake emergency phone calls to 911 centers, in the hopes of getting a SWAT team to an innocent person's home.

"I was coming back from Walmart to bring dinner back to the house and we saw that the street was blocked off," said Howell resident Angelina Fenner.

Neighbors say the subdivision was on lockdown Saturday evening. Police officers, firefighters and EMS responded to Congressman Rogers' home and a SWAT team was placed on standby after getting the 911 call.

"Reporting a domestic violence situation that resulted in one spouse shooting and supposedly killing the other spouse, that individual was now suicidal and had some prior experience over the internet on how to make explosives and bombs," said Howell Police Chief George Basar.

Police say none of that turned out to be true and they found noone in the home, though they're not taking anything as a joke. Now, Howell Police, the U.S. Capitol Police and FBI are all trying to track down the prankster.

"The cost can be significant and then you put on the top that we had to literally shut down an entire neighborhood, deny people access to their homes for a period of time," said Chief Basar.

Chief Basar says most of these "Swatting" pranks have happened on the west coast. The 911 report that led police to Congressman Rogers' home came through the internet, which can make it harder for them to track down the person responsible.

"Should we identify them, they can expect to have full prosecution," said Chief Basar.

According to Howell Police, a man made a fake 911 call through the the internet on Saturday night. He claimed that he shot and killed his spouse and that he is suicidal. Police say the caller claimed he had barricaded himself inside the home and has knowledge of how to make a bomb.

Howell Police and the Livingston County Sheriff's Office responded to the scene which happens to be Congressman Mike Rogers' home in Howell. The home was empty and authorities determined the call was a hoax.

Saturday night, Congressman Rogers and his wife were at the White House Correspondents' Dinner in Washington D.C. He released the following statement in response to the incident:

"Last night police investigated a threat to our home in Howell. I appreciate the quick and professional response of the Howell Police Department and the Livingston County Sheriff. While this turned out to be an unfortunate prank, it is a reminder of the real threats faced by our law enforcement community every day. " – Congressman Mike Rogers

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