40 officers converge on empty home in likely 'swatting' hoax

40 officers converge on empty home in likely 'swatting' hoax

WHEATON, Md. (AP) -- More than 40 officers converged on a Washington-area neighborhood on a report of a shooting inside a townhouse -- where no one happened to be home.

Montgomery County police say the Thursday morning call was likely a "swatting," in which callers fake emergencies to draw SWAT teams to storm houses, sometimes with deadly consequences for the targeted residents.

Capt. Paul Starks told The Washington Post police had no choice but to take the report seriously. The caller called a district police station instead of the county's central 911 line, where calls can be more easily traced.

Charlie Chalfant was at work in Washington when his wife, a coworker, told him of the swatting. He drove out, gave officers his key and was back at his desk by 2 p.m.

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