Lexington Police Chief Terrence Green notified the public that a 12-year-old juvenile male has been charged with unlawful use of 911 after he was found to be responsible for a series “swatting” calls that were made within a neighborhood off Barr Road in Lexington. The announcement was made Wednesday afternoon.
According to LPD, swatting is the act of calling the police and falsely reporting a critical incident at a location which leads to an emergency response by law enforcement.
Between the dates of Dec. 12 and Dec. 14, officers were dispatched to six critical incident calls that were said to be happening at residences within the Vintner’s Wood neighborhood. LPD said some examples of the emergency calls were that a man was standing in a yard with a weapon at a child’s bedroom window, that a man was holding a family hostage with weapons and explosives, that there was a bomb threat at a home with hostages, and a domestic dispute involving weapons and hostages.
During this investigation, detectives were able to determine that the phone calls were made from a residence within the Vintner’s Wood neighborhood by a juvenile caller.
Detectives executed a search warrant at that home Jan. 6, taking all mobile and electronic devices. During forensic searches of the juvenile’s mobile and electronic devices, detectives found videos that were taken showing Lexington police officers responding to the swatting call incidents.
“What may have seemed like a game to this child clearly wasn’t as our officers responded to these incidents as if they were really occurring. We appreciate the patience and understanding of this neighborhood, and those involved in these incidents, as detectives worked through this investigation to its conclusion,” Green said. “Parents, please have conversations with your children so that they understand the responsibility and possible consequences for the things that they do on their mobile devices.”
These cases will be prosecuted by the Juvenile Court of the 11th Circuit Solicitor’s Office.