Nearly two dozen well-armed officers sealed off several blocks and surrounded a Minnetonka home on Saturday in response to a call about a man who killed his wife with an AR-15 rifle and was threatening to kill police.
But inside the home, a couple in their 60s were sleeping safely – the unwitting targets of “swatting,” a dangerous prank in which a caller falsely reports a serious crime in hopes of scaring someone or eliciting a massive police response.
Minnesota Chiefs of Police Association Executive Director Andy Skoogman tells the Star Tribune that these types of pranks are a recipe for tragedy.
There are hundreds of swatting incidents each year nationwide. Some of them have led to deaths.
The FBI recognized swatting as an emerging threat as early as 2008.