EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

January 23, 2013

Brown 'swatting' victim after fake domestic call

By Andrew Blankstein
Los Angeles Times (MCT)

---- — LOS ANGELES (MCT) — A fake report of domestic violence drew Los Angeles police to singer Chris Brown’s home Monday, authorities said, the latest in a series of “swatting” incidents targeting celebrities.

A caller who contacted police shortly before 5 p.m. told them of a domestic violence situation and said he wasn’t sure whether the singer’s mother had been shot, authorities said.

When officers arrived, only members of Brown’s staff were at the home — the singer was not, police said. His parents arrived after police officers had arrived and searched the home.

The incident was the latest in a string of recent “swatting” incidents targeting the homes of Tom Cruise, Justin Bieber and Ashton Kutcher.

The incidents, a fast-growing phenomenon, are started by anonymous mischief-makers who alert police to a bogus crime, prompting a tactical response — sometimes by SWAT officers — that involves a high-risk search for phantom assailants.

A 12-year-old boy has been charged in connection with the reports involving Bieber and Kutcher.