San Francisco 'swatting' case targets Instagram executive

The 911 call to San Francisco police was a hoax. 

The call claimed there was a shooting inside a home in the 100 block of Fair Oaks Street just before one o'clock Saturday morning.

But officers couldn't know it was a prank and responded. An ambulance also arrived.

"They were able to make contact with the owners of the residence and were able to determine there was no merit to the shooting or emergency inside the house," said police spokesman Sgt. Mike Andraychak.

This appears to have been a case of swatting. That's when a caller purposely phones in a fake report that will require police and perhaps a swat unit to respond.

Records show the owner of the residence is a top executive at Instagram who used to work for Facebook.

It is the second incident of swatting this month.

On January 9, Palo Alto police received a similar call from a man who told 9-1-1 he had shot his wife. That too was phony.

The victim of that hoax was a Facebook executive.

"Certainly we would reach out to Palo Alto to see if there are similarities or lineage," said Andraychak.

Police say making a fake emergency call is a crime. And, that they have a  way of investigating them.  

"Typically we are going to rely heavily on cooperation with the telephone companies and internet service providers with the possibility the call originated on a voice over internet protocol type of phone system," said Andraychak.

One neighbor on Fair Oaks, between Noe Valley and the Mission District, says he is disgusted someone would pull such a stunt.

"It is really sad because it might take a life from someone who would need their help while they were at the swatting-fest," said Terrence Tilley.

Police say there is nothing funny about swatting. 

In one 2017 case, Wichita, Kansas police shot and killed a victim of a prank call.

"The level of tension believing or not believing if they are walking into a shooting or potential hostage situation," said Andraychak.