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4-Hour SWAT Standoff Blamed on False Report

The incident ends when police find the house empty of weapons and people. A teen is taken into custody.

UPDATE: At 9:13 a.m. Monday, the boy who allegedly alerted authorities to a bogus armed standoff remains under medical observation and has not been arrested, according to the Orange County Sheriff's Department.

SAN JUAN CAPISTRANO, CA—After a nearly four-hour standoff involving the Orange County Sheriff’s Department SWAT Team and helicopter, investigators believe reports of an armed standoff may have been made-up by a 16-year-old boy.

A teenager, who called 911 to report an armed standoff inside his home between a woman and two men, has been taken into custody for a medical evaluation after the SWAT Team found the home empty of people and weapons, said Capt. Steve Doan.

“Nobody and no weapons,” said Doan.

At the same time, deputies are scouring the neighborhood to make sure the three people didn’t sneak out of the house after the SWAT Team arrived at about 12:30 p.m. and when police entered the house at nearly 4 p.m.

“We want to confirm the welfare of these three people,” explained Doan.

The sheriff’s department evacuated a dozen people from seven neighboring homes at the 3100 block of Paseo La Branza when it deployed its SWAT team to a possible armed standoff involving three people at the house.

According to investigators at the scene, a 16-year-old boy called 911 to report a woman and two men arguing with weapons inside the home, said Doan. Authorities traced the call and were able to convince the teen to exit the home.

With conflicting reports from the teen and unable to speak to the three people inside the home, officers evacuated neighbors and prepared to enter the home if the three people did not voluntarily leave, said Doan. After several hours, they made entry.

The entire block remained roped off by police as roughly 20 residents watched and waited for permission to return home.

Neighbor Reggi Warner was outside the house walking her dog, when the police helicopter arrived on the scene.

“I was walking my dog, and all the sudden I hear a police helicopter say, ‘Get back inside your house,” said Warner.

Deputies also ordered the people inside the standoff house to, “Come out with your hands up,” prompting several surrounding neighbors to walk outside with their hands in the air, said Warner.

Residents in the area took the incident with relative calm. Some even joked about serving up cocktails to the SWAT team.

“This is the most excitement we have seen in this neighborhood in a long time,” said Judy Swires, who lives in the neighborhood.

Shirley September 04, 2012 at 01:27 AM
When they find out who made this phone call they will be sorry they ever thought about the prank!
Penny Arévalo September 04, 2012 at 04:12 AM
Will, your comment was removed for violating our Terms of Use. You're invited to participate if you agree to our terms. You can find them here: http://sanjuancapistrano.patch.com/terms
Brad Potter September 04, 2012 at 04:15 PM
OK boys, the party is over. You can go back to writing traffic tickets and eating donuts.
Penny Arévalo September 05, 2012 at 05:17 PM
Careful! We can't accuse people of crimes (unless, of course, they've been prosecuted already).
V. Duvall September 07, 2012 at 12:16 AM
Great job by the Orange County Sheriff's Department. Better to be safe than sorry, if this had been a real standoff it could have been really bad. This goes to show us how well prepared our deputies are. Thanks.

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