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Police probe possible ‘swatting’ prank

WESTFIELD – Chautauqua County Sheriff Jim Quattrone said local police are thankful for a “peaceful resolution” after a possible “swatting” incident in the town of Westfield.

Members of the Sheriff’s Office, the New York State Police and Westfield Police Department were alerted at about 10:40 p.m. on Saturday to a report of a person with a weapon involved in a shooting incident. Officers were told the person – identified as a 20-year-old male – was at a residence on Pigeon Road in Westfield.

Upon arrival, police learned that the person purported to be involved in the shooting was at a different location within the village of Westfield. Once there, police made contact with the 20-year-old, the Sheriff’s Office said Sunday afternoon in a news release.

“(An) investigation into the incident revealed that there had been no shooting incident and the subject in question was unarmed,” the Sheriff’s Office said. “Further investigation showed that this incident may have been a ‘swatting’ prank.”

Swatting occurs when first responded are called to a specific location in response to an immediate and urgent emergency. The tactic is typically used as a means of harassment against a person or group.

Quattrone told The Post-Journal the incident remains under investigation.

“We are thankful that there was a peaceful resolution last night,” the sheriff said. “The Sheriff’s Office is continuing its investigation of a falsely reported incident. ‘Swatting’ as it is often referred to is a crime that needlessly puts innocent people at risk. It potentially takes valuable resources away from their intended purposes creating even further risks in our community.

“Due to the potential dangers this type of incident creates we take them very serious and will look to charge anyone responsible,” he continued.

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