Investigators with the York Regional Police #4 District Criminal Investigation Bureau have arrested and charged a 17-year-old male under the Youth Criminal Justice Act in connection with multiple swatting incidents.
On Friday, November 20, 2020, police received a call to Tommy Douglas Secondary School in Vaughan for a male walking inside the school with a gun. Officers responded to the high-risk call to later determine the call was a hoax.
On Saturday, November 28, 2020, police received a call to a residence on Via Borghese in Vaughan, after receiving a report that a neighbor had shot his cat and dog. Officers responded to this high-risk call that was later determined to be a hoax.
On Wednesday, December 16, 2020, police received a 9-1-1 call to another Via Borghese address. The caller reported hearing the sound of gunshots after seeing a male and female arguing. Officers responded to this high- risk call and later determined the call was again, a hoax.
On Wednesday, January 13, 2021, police received another 9-1-1 call to the same Via Borghese address as the December 16 incident. The caller stated he had just shot his mother and if police responded, he would shoot them. Again, officers responded to this high-risk incident to later discover it was another hoax.
Following a lengthy investigation, a suspect was identified and has been charged.
The 17-year-old male from Vaughan has been charged with four counts of public mischief and four counts of mischief – interfere with lawful use of property.
Swatting is the act of tricking a police service into dispatching emergency responders based on the false report of an ongoing critical incident. Fake calls to 9-1-1 are not only resource intensive, but can be traumatic for all involved, from the innocent residents dealing with the high-risk police response, the 9-1-1 call taker hearing reports of potential homicides, to frontline officers who believe they are responding to an active shooter call.
People responsible for swatting calls do their best to make the hoax incident sound as believable as possible by using people’s personal information, often gathered from social media. Residents are advised to take extra steps to protect themselves by limiting the amount of private information posted online.
Anyone with information is asked to contact the York Regional Police #4 District Criminal Investigations Bureau at 1-866-876-5423, ext. 7441 or call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-tips.