Fake shooting call ties up Spokane officers




Posted on April 4, 2013 at 5:44 PM

Updated Tuesday, Nov 5 at 6:14 PM

SPOKANE, Wash. -- The Spokane Police Department is already stretched thin. The last thing it needs is prank callers, especially those who claim a shooter is on the loose.

That’s exactly what happened in north Spokane last week. Officers rushed to the scene of an alleged shooting and found nothing.

The fake call tied up 11 officers and one sergeant during the crucial early morning hours. The caller told dispatchers he was baffled when he heard siren after siren headed to his block because he didn’t’ see anything suspicious.

“It was just crazy. There was nothing going on. They were just standing around looking funny at each other,” neighbor Paul Epperson said.

Epperson just got home from Walmart when he saw a dozen police cars come flying into his neighborhood near Lincoln and Cora.

“Sitting right there in the corner, two driving around the block, a bunch of other ones all over the place,” he said.

The big response was needed, or so the Spokane Police Department thought.

Court documents show a man called 911 and said a man believed to be high was carrying a gun, and someone had been shot. The caller identified himself as Eric. He went on to say two men with guns were chasing two other men and a woman. “Eric” even described the shooters as Hispanic, both about 5-foot-6.

Responding officers found no evidence of a crime. Several neighbors in a six-block radius told police they didn’t hear a thing.

Multiple calls to “Eric’s” number went unanswered, and officers eventually tracked down the caller’s location to the Days Inn on 3rd Avenue.

“I think they need to find the prank callers and get them of the area. They moved all the ‘Looney Tunes’ up there,” Epperson said.

The police department calls this a serious crime. If police can locate a suspect through those phone records, that person will likely face charges of making false and misleading statements to a public servant, which is a felony.