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PUNTA GORDA, FL – Yesterday, Charlotte County Sheriff’s Office responded to a swatting call in a Washington Loop neighborhood of Punta Gorda. According to authorities, Just prior to 5 in the afternoon on Tuesday, dispatch received a report from a caller the he had just shot his father and was suicidal. Deputies were immediately in route to the home located within the Shell Creek RV Resort and Marina on Washington Loop Road. Countless neighbors and the park manager were contacted while deputies thoroughly scoured the area.
Throughout the investigation it was determined that the caller who claimed to be “Joshua Wilson” is not a resident of the park and has no relation to the homeowner at the address provided to dispatch. The homeowner was extremely cooperative and understanding of the situation. An additional address for a Joshua Wilson was checked by the Punta Gorda Police Department but was boarded up and deemed unoccupied.
The phone number provided by dispatch was checked with no success identifying an owner or location. The investigation continues.
Swatting is the act of calling the police on an innocent person with a false claim that the individual is an active shooter, kidnapper, or another type of hostile criminal. Livestream gamers are a common target for swatting since it allows the person calling the police to see the results of their call immediately.
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Swatters could face five to 15 years in prison, depending on the cost incurred by law enforcement and whether the incident resulted in bodily harm or death.