Dodge County sheriff: 17-year-old boy from Ohio charged in March 2018 'swatting' incident

DODGE COUNTY -- Dodge County sheriff's officials on Monday, March 18 announced a 17-year-old boy is facing dozens of charges in connection with a swatting incident that occurred on March 22, 2018.

Law enforcement officials from around the country were able to identify the suspect, who is from Youngstown, Ohio. He was not identified by officials because he is a juvenile.

A news release from the Dodge County Sheriff's Office said an investigation revealed similar incidents across the country -- with the hoax phone calls originating from Mahoning County, Ohio. The Mahoning County Prosecutor's Office filed 73 counts of delinquency -- 40 felonies and 33 misdemeanors.

In the release, officials said Dodge County Sheriff Dale Schmidt has made it clear that, "These incidents are very serious and will not be tolerated" and, "The perpetrator is being held accountable. It is the sheriff’s hope that the resolution of this case will dissuade others from trying this type of activity."

On March 22, 2018, around 3:30 p.m., a phone call came in to the Dodge County Sheriff's Office from a male who indicated he had shot a male suspect and taken hostages at a home near US 151 and Forest Road between Beaver Dam and Columbus.

Officials responded to the scene and, "Immediately took action to protect the public and make plans for entry to the home to rescue potential victims."

US 151 was closed from County Highway G to County Highway S for about an hour -- as Dodge County SWAT officials responded. The SWAT team was able to make contact with the homeowner and clear the residence without incident. It was quickly confirmed there was no shooting, and no hostages. Sheriff's officials said, "It became quickly evident that this was most likely what is called a swatting event."

After the incident in March 2018, the sheriff noted, "Shortly after this incident was resolved, the sheriff’s office responded to Fox Lake for a report of subjects who had fallen through the ice on the lake.  Had our deputies still been tied up on the swatting call, it is quite possible that our deputies would not have been able to respond as quickly to that incident and lives could have been put further in jeopardy."