WIUM Tristates Public Radio

Incident Near WIU Campus Proves to be Hoax

Mar 7, 2013

Macomb police surrounded a home for five hours Wednesday evening, believing someone might be barricaded inside. But it turned out they were sent to the home on a prank call.

The 911 center received the call from 509 West Murray around 6:00 pm. Police Chief Curt Barker said the caller was a woman.

Police Chief Curt Barker
Credit Rich Egger

“She said there was an individual at the house and she gave the address and said that he had a firearm. And then in the background you could hear the male subject saying, ‘Are you calling the police? Are you calling the police?’ And then the phone went dead,” Barker said.

He said the 911 system verified the address.

Police spent five hours on the scene. Barker said authorities had to treat it as an incident in which there might be someone barricaded inside the home.

“We don’t have the resources if we are not able to make contact,” Barker said. “We attempted to call the number back. We attempted to use our p.a. system to get somebody at the residence to answer. No one was answering.”

He said the Illinois State Police Tactical Response Team was called in to assist. That team brought in robots, which went through the house and found no one inside.

Barker said the Tactical Response Team’s members come from throughout the state.

It’s not known how much it cost to deal with the situation.

Barker said the two people renting the house cooperated with the investigation and he does not believe they were involved with the call. However, he said the call might be the result of “a situation” between the tenants and the people who contacted 911.

Barker said this is not the first time police have been called to the house. A shooting happened there last semester. He said different people now live in the house, but there still have been problems such as parties and fights this semester.