Victim of false firearms complaint believes he was targeted by prank
RCMP say false calls put the public and police at risk
P.E.I. RCMP are investigating an act of public mischief after receiving a false firearms complaint, which ended up with police at a residence in Alberton.
Around 3 p.m. Thursday West Prince RCMP received a report of a firearms complaint at a residence in Alberton. Police responded and determined the complaint was not true according to Sgt. Darrell Gill, operations NCO for Prince District RCMP.
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"The call that was received was not true, so there was no firearms complaint — so whoever made that call made a false complaint," he said.
Police are still looking into the circumstances that led to the call. They do not have any suspects at this point. Gill said there was one man in the home when police arrived.
Victim believes incident was 'swatting' prank
CBC spoke to the man who said he was the victim of the false call. He believes the incident was a prank called "swatting." CBC has agreed not to name the man because he fears more harassment.
The man, who said he works in the gaming industry, said swatting is something common in that world. Swatting is a hoax call where someone makes up a false report to police to get a SWAT team to descend on an address where a gamer is streaming live online. The idea is that viewers will be able to see the prank as it unfolds on the webcam stream.
The man said he received a private phone call while live streaming gaming on a webcam, but he didn't answer it. He then ended his broadcast and went upstairs and saw RCMP vehicles outside his home.
He said he then got another call and answered it. It was police. He said he listened to what police said and came outside. He said he spoke with police and officers searched the house and found nothing.
RCMP take false calls seriously
Gill said when RCMP arrived at the residence, they were ready to respond to what was reported, which was a firearms complaint.
"We had the proper equipment to respond to the complaint that was put before us," he said. "We had firearms with us. I can't say they were out. We were ready to respond."
Gill said police are taking the incident seriously.
"We had to take that call, initial call very serious. We did respond to it and then determined that it was a false complaint ... It's a criminal charge if people make a false complaint. Also it put members of the public at risk and it also puts the police at risk who are responding to these types of calls, so it's very serious."
When asked if this incident was a case of swatting Gill said, "It's something that I guess people should be aware of ... in terms of these type of situations. It's actually fairly new to me. I'm not a gamer as they say. But it is something that people need to be aware of for sure."
"It's very concerning if people are doing that." he said. "It's a situation where obviously those people are not looking at the consequences of their actions and they're putting people at risk because of it."
Police said they are continuing to investigate.