On the morning of Thursday, June 14, all Canyon Lake access gates closed, leaving vehicles restricted from entering and leaving the community. The lock down was prompted by a call to the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department non-emergency line from an individual claiming to be holding hostages at gunpoint inside a residence at the 22000 block in Canyon Lake. According to the Riverside Sheriff’s Department, the man made serious allegations and demands of the police.
Shortly after numerous deputies and police officers were deployed to Canyon Lake, Perris Station investigators determined the call was a prank, which has been commonly referred to as “swatting.” The occupants of the residence were not involved and were unharmed.
The term “swatting” emerged across the country several years ago after several individuals began making crank calls to law enforcement claiming a dangerous and deadly situation was in-progress at a specific location. The swatter’s goal was to cause a large contingency of armed officers to converge on a location and take an aggressive approach to the situation, which has always turned out to be a hoax.
One such hoax turned deadly in January of this year after a California resident made such a call to the Wichita Police Department in Kansas. During that “swatting” call, Wichita officers fatally shot a 28-year old Kansas man. The suspect in that case was tracked, identified, placed under arrest and charged with involuntary manslaughter. His trial is currently pending.
At this time, the Riverside Sheriff’s Department will not say if the call was from an adult or child, nor will they confirm if the call came from someone inside or outside of Canyon Lake.
The incident had hundreds of Canyon Lake residents taking to social media sites to share their thoughts on this incident.
“I counted 18 police cars, 1 helicopter, two ambulances for motorcycles and two fire trucks. This is some prank,” said Gary Markel.
“Whatever the case, I commend our first responders for their flawless response. May God bless and protect them,” said Ruth Martin.
“It was terrible. I couldn’t get out to go get my kid who was getting out of day camp. I had no way to get in touch with him. It was a bit unnerving to have all our entrances and exits blocked off,” posted Kellie Welty.
Anyone with additional information regarding this investigation is encouraged to contact Sergeant Curt Harris at the Perris Sheriff’s Station at 951-210-1000.