A Kingston family was the apparent victim of false reporting Saturday, according to Kitsap County Sheriff’s reports.
Here’s what happened: Deputies got a hair-raising 911 call that came from out of the area. The caller, posing as a Kingston resident, claimed his father was “going crazy” and had shot his sister. The caller claimed he was hiding in a bathroom.
That kind of call is going to get police officers to respond in droves. And they did.
Police surrounded the home. A Suquamish police sergeant could see a man standing in the backyard; the man was told to show his hands and get on the ground. He complied. The man’s two sons were also located there and instructed to come around to the front of the house.
Police read the father his Miranda rights. He, of course, had no idea what had happened, and noted he didn’t even have a daughter.
Deputies checked the home and then un-cuffed the man.
It turns out that one of his sons had been playing games on the Internet. He’d played with someone online who’d been kicked off a gaming web site. The person decided to have the Kingston home “swatted” — that is, to try to get the SWAT team to converge on someone’s home.
Deputies’ investigation continues.
Scott Wilson, spokesman for the Kitsap County Sheriff’s Office, said there were many risks and costs associated with making such a high priority response. There’s the responders driving to the scene as quickly as possible; there’s multiple agencies converging on a home — when their resources might be needed elsewhere.
The situation is also frightening to those involved. But Wilson said sheriff’s deputies are left with no choice but to respond “tactically” until they determine it’s a hoax.
“We were acting in good faith,” he said.
And should deputies confirm this was a case of false reporting, the person responsible could be punished by up to a year in jail, according to Washington law.