An Alabama woman has been charged with making a bogus 911 call that led to the death of her daughter-in-law's father, police said Friday.
Dorothy Marie Gass, 65, called police in the early morning hours of New Year's Day to report that her daughter-in-law, Amy Gass, was threatening to kill her children and herself, the Atlanta-Journal Constitution reported.
Arriving officers reportedly found Gass' father, Mark Steven Parkinson, outside with a gun in his hand. They shot and killed him when he pointed the gun at them, police said.
Officers said they repeatedly identified themselves before firing.
But the victim's widow, Diana Parkinson, told local news stations that her husband grabbed his gun because he thought the arriving police sounded like potential intruders.
"He is not the type of man that would aim a weapon at someone, unless he thought someone was going to hurt his family.”
Her husband probably wouldn't have aimed the gun knowingly at police, she said.
“He is not the type of man that would aim a weapon at someone,” Parkinson said, “unless he thought someone was going to hurt his family.”
Police later found no evidence that Gass' initial 911 call was truthful, and charged her with misdemeanor false reporting.
The incident came amid a rash of so-called "swatting" attacks nationwide, in which people make false, urgent 911 calls that are designed to draw police SWAT (Special Weapons and Tactics) teams to the homes of unwitting victims.
The FBI estimates that roughly 400 cases of swatting occur annually.