The McHenry County Sheriff’s Office is investigating a “swatting” incident in unincorporated McHenry late Tuesday evening that tied up about 15 law enforcement officers for several hours.
The McHenry County Sheriff’s Office and Johnsburg Police Department responded at 10:19 p.m. to a report of a hostage situation in the 2800 block of North Magellan Drive in unincorporated McHenry.
A man called 911 and gave the name of a juvenile and an address. The caller said that he was holding three people hostage and that he was armed with a gun. The caller also demanded a ransom. He said he would start shooting people and then hung up, authorities said.
“Information was obtained that led deputies and police officers from Johnsburg Police Department to a make contact, at a different address, with the juvenile whose name had been provided. It was determined that he had not made the call,” the McHenry County Sheriff’s Office said.
Authorities said it was determined that everyone was fine at the house on North Magellan Drive and there was no hostage situation.
“Swatting is not amusing and can have potentially fatal consequences,” said Sheriff Bill Prim. “An unarmed man in Wichita, Kansas, was shot and killed during a similar incident late last year. Meanwhile, while chasing a hoax, officers are unable to answer calls to real emergencies.”
“Swatting” is the act of tricking emergency services into sending police to another person’s address, based on the false reporting of a serious emergency situation, such as a bomb threat, murder, hostage-taking, or other alleged incident.
It is a criminal act that can put both responding personnel and innocent civilians in danger, the McHenry County Sheriff’s Office said.
The investigation is ongoing and anyone with information should contact the McHenry County Sheriff’s Office at 815-338-2144 or McHenry County Crime Stoppers at 800-762-7867.