Reports of a shooting in a Pismo Beach home on Friday afternoon turned out to be false, according to the Pismo Beach Police Department.
A man called Pismo Beach police about 2:34 p.m. Friday and told them he had shot his girlfriend and had his daughter inside a home on the 100 block of Wave Avenue, police Cmdr. Tom Portz said.
However, when officers arrived at the scene, they found a family of three inside the home with no shooting situation underway, Portz said.
Police are attempting to determine who placed the call, and whether it was a “swatting” incident in which emergency services are deceived into sending authorities to another person’s address.
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“The man who called said that he shot his girlfriend and had his daughter inside, and it sounded like a murder situation,” Portz said.
Portz said police from multiple South County agencies surrounded the home, believing it was a live shooting situation.
Police also barricaded Wave Avenue and a few blocks along Highland Drive for about an hour.
Portz said Pismo Beach police will be investigating who made the call. It’s a crime to make a false report to police, he said, and the person would be arrested if caught.
“It was a blocked caller ID, but we have our ways of tracking the call,” Portz said.
Portz said the residents inside the home at the time — two adults and a minor — were “surprised” and shaken up by the incident.
Police cautiously approached the home, and spoke with a man who was outside the residence and unaware of what was going on.
“Once we were able to talk to him, we had a pretty good idea it was a false alarm,” Portz said.
Swatting incidents have resulted in police shooting people inside homes, believing that an active shooter is inside.
In 2017, police fatally shot a Witchita, Kansas, man, Andrew Finch, after responding to a hoax 911 call from California about a shooting and kidnapping at Finch’s home.
In November 2018, Los Angeles resident Tyler Barris pleaded guilty to 51 federal charges related to fake calls and threats — including the false report that led to Finch’s death, which reportedly resulted from an online gaming dispute. Multiple past swatting incidents have been associated with gaming and e-sports communities as a form of retaliation and intimidation.
It remains unclear if that was the reason for the call that sparked Friday’s incident in Pismo Beach.
“We just don’t know yet,” Portz said.