A man accused of a prank call that ended in the death of a Kansas man is now being sought by the Calgary Police Service (CPS) in relation to an unrelated swatting call in the city last month.
The Tactical Unit was called to a residence in the 2300 block of 17B Street S.W. after receiving a call from a man claiming he’d shot his father and was holding his mother and younger brother hostage.
WATCH: Calgary police speak to media after announcing a man charged in an American swatting incident is now wanted in an unrelated Calgary incident.
Patrol officers and officers from the Tactical Unit quickly contained the scene and started evacuating nearby units.
As officers were trying to confirm the report, another 911 call came in from a woman living at the address who said she believed she was the victim of a swatting call.
She came out of the apartment and told police the shooting and hostage scenario was fake.
“I believe she was told by an online colleague or friend that she was being swatted,” Acting Duty Insp. Peter Siegenthaler said Tuesday.
WATCH: Calgary police believe the suspect wanted in a Calgary swatting incident is the same man charged in a Kansas incident that left a man dead.
Swatting is the practice of prank calling emergency services in an attempt to spark a response of a large number of armed officers to an area.
Siegenthaler said officers responded to the apartment building with guns drawn, adding the nature and specifics of the initial 911 call led investigators to believe this was a very serious threat.
Police believe the woman was targeted because of her online persona.
The CPS Cyber/Forensics Unit took over the case once the situation was resolved and identified a suspect who’d contacted the victim earlier that day.
Police told Global News on Tuesday the suspect is the same man accused in a prank call in Kansas on Dec. 29 where a man was killed by a police officer after units responded to a hoax kidnapping and shooting call.
Police and the FBI are investigating whether that prank call was prompted by an online gaming dispute, according to The Associated Press.
WATCH: Police in Los Angeles have arrested a man they suspect made a bogus 911 call that led to another man’s death thousands of kilometres away in Kansas. The prank is known as “swatting,” and as Howard Cohen reports, it’s a threat police everywhere are seeing more and more.
Calgary police have now issued an arrest warrant for 25-year-old Tyler Raj Barriss of Los Angeles, California.
He’s charged with public mischief for allegedly falsely reporting that an offence has been committed, fraud for allegedly providing false information by letter or telecommunication, and mischief.
“The service takes swatting events extremely seriously and will investigate each incident thoroughly,” CPS said in a release.
“Swatting calls have the potential to create significant risks for both public and officer safety and can require an extensive amount of resources to respond and investigate.”
Siegenthaler said swatting calls are “very frustrating” for police, as each one needs to be treated and investigated as a serious threat, meaning significant resources must respond, pulling them away from possibly responding to other calls.
“I think people need to realize that this is a real crime and sometimes people don’t realize that. Just because it’s not done in person, it is a real crime and we certainly will fully investigate these occurrences,” he said.
“You do something online, it can be traced.”
Siegenthaler said these types of calls are on the rise in the city.
LISTEN: A Digital Anthropologist shares her story of a SWATTING at her mother’s house that occured when she was researching online harrassment, and what to do if you think it could happen to you.
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