Sheriff's Office says Howlett Hill Road call reflects national ‘Swatting' trend

Published 04/23 2014 04:30PM

Updated 04/23 2014 07:15PM

Syracuse (WSYR-TV) – A concerning national trend may have made its way to Central New York, in light of a fake incident that demanded a response from local law enforcement Tuesday night on Howlett Hill Road.

Investigators believe someone from outside of New York State reached Onondaga County 911 with a report that their mother had been shot at her home on Howlett Hill Road.

“Swatting” has become a national trend. While the incident in the town of Onondaga didn’t demand a response from a SWAT team, it did compel a significant response that drew officers away from other responsibilities.

"There's certainly a rapid response to something like this and certainly we're pulling units from other areas for backup and assistance. It also takes them away from doing other things and being available for other emergency situations,” said Onondaga County Sheriff Kevin Walsh.

Not only did it tap the Sheriff’s Office’s resources on Tuesday night, Walsh says it’s costing them man hours today and possibly several days to come to try and track down how this happened and who did it.

"This has become a concern on a national basis and I'm hoping something can be done maybe with some stronger federal legislation that would deal with individuals who do these kinds of things simply because of the potential dangers that are there,” Walsh said.

The Sheriff says they are looking into whether it’s connected to a prank call on Long Island on Tuesday.

SWAT teams swarmed a home there, responding to what they thought was a hostage situation and possible murder scene, only to learn that the entire call was also a hoax.

The Sheriff says the investigation is still in its early stage.

His investigators are still trying to determine whether the Howlett Hill Road home was specifically targeted or selected randomly.

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