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Homicide call was a hoax Allison K. Sampite | Thu, Mar 17 2011 05:12 PM

A prank call to the Chula Vista Police Department Thursday afternoon had police responding to what they thought was a potential homicide in Eastlake.

Authorities said they received a phone call around 2:50 p.m from a man who claimed he murdered his wife. He then threatened to kill himself inside their Garnet Peak Road condominium.

The caller told a crisis negotiator that he had made several attempts to kill his fiance before he finally shot her, said Chula Vista Police Capt. Gary Wedge.

The caller gave police his and the woman's name and police were able to trace the phone call to a landline.

Some 40 to 50 police officers including SWAT personnel, crisis negotiators and patrol officers were called to the scene, including a police helicopter and fire personnel.

However when police arrived on the scene they soon discovered the alleged victim and her assailant were not ever in harm's way. In fact, neither one of them had been home at the time of the phone call.

Wedge said at least one of them received a phone call from a neighbor saying there was activity in the area prompting them to come home, where the couple was interviewed by police.

“It’s very rare for a hoax like this to occur,” Wedge said. The caller "went into incredible detail with the crisis negotiator about how he tried to kill his wife and when one way didn’t work he tried another way, then he said he finally shot her.”

According to Wedge, the man who called used technology to trick officers.

“It looks like the guy used a special phone app to make it look like he was calling from the house,” Wedge said.

Just after 6 p.m., police called off further assistance after SWAT entered the residence and found no one inside.

Wedge said today’s fiasco justifies felony charges and considerable cost recovery.

“Making a false report of an emergency can be a misdemeanor but given the circumstances we would charge it as a felony or encourage the District Attorney to do so,” Wedge said.

This story was updated at 9 p.m.

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