An anonymous caller nearly cost a Pulitzer-prize winning Miami Herald columnist his life, after placing a fake 911 call to report a murder in the writer’s home.
Leonard G. Pitts Jr. was awakened at his Maryland home early Sunday by a group of police officers responding to a fake 911 tip that someone was killed inside Pitts’ house. Bowie Police Department called Pitts around 5 a.m. and informed him they received an anonymous report that his wife or someone else was “being murdered.”
According to Fox News, police instructed Pitts to stay on the phone and go out the front door of his house. Once outside, an officer with a loudspeaker ordered him to put the phone down and slowly walk toward a spotlight being held by another officer.
Pitts was handcuffed and questioned behind a police car while other officers searched his home for a dead body; only to find Pitts’ wife, his daughter, her husband, and his 3-year-old granddaughter, all alive and well inside. Pitts told the Miami Herald, “I knew that if I remained calm, it would be fine because there was nothing to hide…It felt surreal like I was in a movie.”
Bowie Police Chief John Nesky told the Miami Herald that the department is still investigating this incident, “but we do know there was false information given.”
Nesky said he is not prepared to call the incident “swatting” yet, referring to an act in which callers report false crimes and send officers to the homes of innocent people.