ROCHESTER, Minn. - A shooting hoax late Monday night prompted a large police presence in a Rochester neighborhood.
Police were called at 10:19 p.m. to the 3500 block of Birchwood Ln. W. for a report that a male shot his uncle and the uncle was not breathing.
The caller said they had an AR-15 style rifle and said they would shoot police if they showed up.
Police set up a perimeter and made unsuccessful attempts to contact the residents before it was determined the call came from an IP address in Australia.
A 44-year-old male eventually exited the house and gave consent for police to search.
The resident said he has a nephew who lives out of state that plays online games with people all over the world, and that in the past he's made people upset. Officers said they believe he made someone in Australia upset and they made the call.
The Rochester Police Department says approximately 14 officers were involved in Monday's incident, including the use of emergency response officers and equipment.
Captain Casey Moilanen with RPD says false incidents like this take up a lot of equipment and time.
“Revenge to get back at people, they'll do it as a practical joke,” he explains. “Unfortunately it ties up a lot of resources, people have gotten hurt and killed in other locations of the country.”
He says the department is fully aware of these types of incidents and takes these calls seriously.
“If what the person called in doesn't match what we are seeing when we get there, those are some red flags that say maybe we should slow things down, and ensure that this incident really took place,” Moilanen explains.
Captain Moilanen says these types of incidents can be dangerous.
“With these types of phone calls if somebody gets seriously hurt or killed in the process, they're going to be responsible for that, so they could end up in prison for a long time if something really bad happened with calls like this.”
The case remains under investigation.