Maryland authorities are investigating an apparent “swatting” incident in which a caller made a hoax report that Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist Leonard G. Pitts Jr. may have committed a crime at his home.
Pitts told The Miami Herald he was awoken Sunday morning by Bowie Police who said they'd received a 911 call someone was “being murdered” in the home.
“The caller on the line stated that he had murdered his wife and that he was going to shoot the police when they arrived on the scene," Bowie Police Chief John Nesky said. "The caller gave the address in the 1500 block of Nebraska Lane."
Pitts said police called him about 5 a.m. and told him to exit the house. He was told to put down his phone, ordered to his knees and handcuffed.
“Never been arrested, and technically wasn’t arrested then, and never had handcuffs on before, either,” Pitts said.
Police then got his granddaughter, daughter and wife out of the home.
"Then I saw Leonard standing there handcuffed, and they started saying, ‘Who else is in the house? Who else is in the house?' and I’m like, 'What’s going on?'" said his wife, Marilyn.
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Police searched the home and found no danger. Nesky said it took less than 30 minutes for police to realize it was a prank.
“Apologized for the disruption and now we are in the investigative mode where we’re trying to find out where the call came from and track its source," Nesky said.
Pitts writes a column for the Miami Herald that runs nationally and often touches on controversial issues. Pitts said he doesn't know if that's why someone made the fake report.