Littleton, Colorado has a scared past with shooting rampages, most notably when two teens went on a shooting spree on April 20, 1999 at Columbine High School, murdering 13 and wounding more than 20 other innocent victims. The small community outside Denver today received a chilling if hideous reminder as police SWAT units descended on an office building today, responding to a fake shooting call.
The massive militarized SWAT response resulted in area schools being locked down, restrictions that were lifted once it became clear the threat was false.
Fake call mobilizes Littleton Police department
Littleton Police are reported to have asked for FBI help in fingering the person who made the “swatting” call to Littleton’s 911 response center near 11:30 a.m. this morning. The caller claimed to have shot co-workers inside the building and set bombs.
“The caller stated he had shot multiple people,” Littleton Police Chief Doug Stephens was quoted as saying, justifying the massive police response.
When heavily armored officers burst on to the scene they quickly realized the call could be a hoax. “We did not find any indication that a shooting had occurred. We have no victims of any gunshots; no crime scene that we’ve been able to identify,” Stephens said.
“There was a lot of commotion,” said Rich Kindler, who works in the area. “We really didn’t know what was going on.”
Littleton shooting a hoax
“Fortunately there were no injuries today, but a massive law enforcement response wastes resources and greatly increases the chances of innocent people being injured or killed. If the investigation determines that today’s incident was a hoax, those involved will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law,” a statement released by the city of Littleton said.
Littleton Police think the caller was trying to set up a popular online gamer with the online moniker “Kootra,” who was broadcasting live on the website twitch.tv used by video gamers. Video obtained by Denver’s KUSA-TV shows Kootra inside an office when Littleton Police officers burst into the room. He and other co-workers were detained.
Ironically, three days ago twitch.tv was highlighted as Amazon’s $1 billion purchase of the online gaming application was heralded in a ValueWalk report. Now the video gaming application could have been used as part of a perverse prank.