California minor arrested in Bieber, Kutcher "swatting" hoaxes

LOS ANGELES Tue Dec 18, 2012 7:29pm EST

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LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - A minor was arrested on suspicion of placing hoax calls claiming gunshots were fired at the home of Justin Bieber and that people had been shot at actor Ashton Kutcher's house, police in Los Angeles said on Tuesday.

Police said the unnamed minor is suspected to be behind the hoaxes that resulted in dozens of emergency responders being dispatched to the homes of Kutcher and Bieber in October. Neither the actor nor the singer were at home during the pranks.

The false emergency calls are known as "swatting" because SWAT (Special Weapons and Tactics) officers are often sent to such purported crime scenes.

The Los Angeles Police Department would not release the name or gender of the minor, but said the suspect was arrested on December 10 and lived in the Southern California region. The Los Angeles County District Attorney's office is reviewing whether to file charges.

In the Kutcher incident, dozens of emergency personnel were sent to the Hollywood home of the "Two and a Half Men" star after a call claiming that people were in his home with guns and explosives, and that several people had been shot.

First responders were also dispatched to Bieber's Los Angeles-area home after a false emergency call said gun shots had been fired on the property.

Singer and actress Miley Cyrus has also been targeted by a swatting prank, but police said the Cyrus case has not been linked to the Kutcher and Bieber incidents. (Reporting by Eric Kelsey; Editing by Jill Serjeant)

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