Oakville Man Charged in 'Swatting' Prank 911 Calls
An Oakville man is facing charges in connection with a series of “swatting” incidents in town.
“Cumulatively, these calls involved the response of over 20 frontline line police officers, plus dispatchers and communicators in our 911 centre who are all reserved for service to a variety of legitimate community needs,” said say Halton Regional Police Deputy Chief Nish Duraiappah.
“False reports like these carry rippling impacts on our community’s safety and well-being.”
Swatting is a sophisticated prank call to emergency services which results in a large number of first responders being dispatched.
Investigators say six false 911 calls came from an unidentified male requesting Halton police and paramedics between Jan. 3 and Feb. 17.
Here’s what police say happened.
Jan. 3: The unidentified caller phoned 911 requesting an ambulance. Both police and paramedics responded, however no one needed medical attention.
Jan. 13: The unidentified caller phoned 911 requesting an ambulance. Both police and paramedics responded, however no one needed medical attention.
Jan. 26: The unidentified caller reported a knife fight involving four individuals was occurring in the area of T.A. Blakelock High School. Significant emergency services such as frontline officers, paramedics, high school liaison officers, and the criminal investigations bureau responded to the call. It was later determined to be false after a search of the area, including school grounds, say police.
Jan. 27: The unidentified caller reported a fight occurring between two individuals in front of the Oakville Library at 1274 Rebecca St. Police and paramedics responded to the area but no disturbance was observed.
Feb. 15: The unidentified caller requested an ambulance. Police and paramedics responded however no one needing medical attention was located. Three patrol officers responded to this call.
Feb. 17: The unidentified caller once again requested an ambulance. Halton police identified and located the unidentified caller inside a home on Wendy Lane in Oakville.
Three patrol officers and two investigators spent more than nine hours investigating the Feb. 17 call, say police, leading to the arrest.
“The risk to citizens, businesses and in this case, students in a high school, are significant,” said Duraiappah.
“The only resources which weren’t wasted during this incident were the investigative ones used to identify and arrest the person responsible.”
Waqar Gohar, 37, is charged with six counts of provide false information and two counts of public mischief.
Gohar was held in custody pending a bail hearing.
Anyone who may have additional information concerning this investigation can contact Halton police Det.Const. Autumn Mills at 905-825-4747 ext. 2285. Tips can also be submitted to Crime Stoppers “See something? Hear something? Know something? Contact Crime Stoppers” at 1-800-222-477 (TIPS) or through the web at www.haltoncrimestoppers.ca.
Photo courtesy of Halton Regional Police
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