By ZACK PLAIR
An apparent crank call gave Starkville Police Department SWAT officers some real-time training Friday morning on Lindbergh Boulevard.
SPD Chief David Lindley said the someone called 911 at about 8:05 a.m. claiming to be a "hostage taker" who had hostages inside a Lindbergh residence south of Mississippi Highway 12. Police set up a perimeter and sent officers clad in riot gear to the scene. However, Lindley said the call turned out to be a hoax.
"We have discovered this was indeed a fake call, a crank call," Lindley told reporters at the scene just after 10 a.m. "We made contact with one of the individuals in the house. … She had no idea what was going on."
Lindley said he believed the call had come from outside the house, but he wasn't "taking anything for granted." He added SPD continued its investigation to identify the caller, and that person could face criminal charges.
Still, he said he was glad the call was a false alarm. He called the situation the caller described "terrible," though he did not release any further details on the call, citing the ongoing investigation.
"If what the person said was going on was actually going on, this would've been a very bad day," Lindley said.
The scene quickly drew public attention as police units flooded the neighborhood near the intersection of Lindbergh and Scales Street. Mississippi State University student Casey Black, who was riding his bicycle through the neighborhood as police were navigating the situation, said he lived two doors down from the house in question.
"It surprised me to walk out my door and see a bunch of cops in SWAT gear," Black said. "Obviously they take it seriously, and this makes me feel confident in our police force."
Black said he had moved to the neighborhood only three weeks ago, but Friday's incident didn't make him feel less safe.
"I've got dogs and my own protection system," he said. "So I'll be fine."