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False shooting report by boy prompts SWAT team response

A 12-year-old Santa Rosa boy is accused of making a false report of a shooting at an apartment on the east side of the city Tuesday night that prompted some two dozen police officers, including a SWAT team, to respond to the fake incident.

Officers were dispatched to 212 South Boas Drive at about 9 p.m. after the unidentified boy allegedly reported his mother had shot his father in the head, Santa Rosa Police Department said Wednesday. The boy said his mother still had the gun and was hiding in the bathroom of the apartment.

Upon arriving at the residence, officers could not find the boy, who was supposed to meet them in front of the apartment, and couldn’t reach him immediately since he made the call from a disconnected cellphone.

Officers assembled a SWAT team to potentially enter, but were able to contact the residents, who came outside. Police then determined the boy did not live at the apartment and that the call was a hoax.

Santa Rosa Police Sgt. Christopher Mahurin described the call as a case of "swatting," in which someone makes up an emergency report to get a SWAT team to descend on a home. Mahurin said police don’t think the boy had any relationship to the residents of the apartment and are unsure why he picked that specific address.

Police tracked down the boy later Tuesday night and arrested him at his Santa Rosa home on suspicion of falsely reporting a crime, before releasing him to his family.

Police will submit a report of the incident to the juvenile division of the Sonoma County District Attorney’s Office, which will decide whether to charge the boy with a misdemeanor crime, Mahurin said.

Editor’s note: Santa Rosa police officers were dispatched to 212 South Boas Drive. An earlier version of the story misstated the address.

You can reach Staff Writer Ethan Varian at ethan.varian@pressdemocrat.com or 707-521-5412. On Twitter @ethanvaria

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