Manitoba RCMP have arrested an 18-year-old man in connection to a pair of “swatting” — making a fake emergency call to provoke a police response — incidents in the United States.
RCMP were contacted Aug. 17 to help the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation, North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation, and Department of Homeland Security look into the incidents.
In both cases, the U.S. police agencies said they received 911 calls from a man claiming to be armed inside a school and was about to start shooting. In both cases, heavy police resources, including SWAT teams, were sent to the scene of the non-existent crimes.
According to the initial investigation in Tennessee, the phone calls originated from Manitoba. It was later determined by RCMP and Winnipeg police that the calls were coming from a home on Fisher River Cree Nation.
RCMP raided the home on Aug. 30 and seized electronic items. A suspect, 18, was taken into custody and later released, with a pending court date Dec. 7 on Peguis First Nation.
Sgt. Paul Manaigre of the Manitoba RCMP told 680 CJOB the various cross-border law enforcement agencies had to collaborate to determine which jurisdiction the case fell into, ultimately deciding that since the calls were made from Manitoba, prosecuting the suspect here was most appropriate.
“We identified, basically, the carrier these calls originated from, and from there our tech crimes units were able to pinpoint exactly where we needed to be,” Manaigre said. “And we’ve got a subject now who has to appear in court.
“This is a great example of how you put technology to use and something that happens so quickly — one little phone call — the message is passed and then that panic and fear sets in.
“Next thing you know, you’ve got hundreds of man-hours occupied with the response, and then the further investigation.”
Police continue to investigate.