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April Fools’ Prank Backfires for Mother Who Faked Being Shot in ‘Very Dangerous’ Text

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Police in Wichita, Kansas have arrested a woman after she faked being shot in an April Fools’ text to her daughter, prompting an emergency response to a home in the city.

Arnthia Willis, 58, was arrested Thursday on suspicion of unlawful request for emergency service assistance, The Wichita Eagle reported.

Police were called to a shooting at 8:32 a.m. in the northeast of the city. “Multiple police units, probably between 15 to 20 officers from the Wichita Police Department as well as fire department and EMS responded to the scene,” police Lieutenant Ronald Hunt told reporters at the scene on Thursday.

Police were unable to communicate with anyone inside the property, so with guns drawn and using shields, broke down the front door and searched the house, the Eagle said. But there was nobody inside.

Police discovered that Willis phoned her daughter while at work, claiming to have been shot and quickly hanging up. The daughter reported the incident, prompting the emergency response, the ABC-affiliated KAKE television station reported.

“Through further investigation, we learned that this was an April Fools’ joke played on the daughter by the mother,” Hunt said. Willis was arrested in the Wichita suburb of Derby by local officers, the Eagle reported.

“April Fools’ can be a good, funny little joke in some circumstances” but when it leads to a police response “it’s not funny any more,” Hunt told reporters. “This is a situation that is very dangerous.”

Hunt added that the incident might be considered a so-called “swatting call,” in which a caller calls 911 and falsifies an emergency to draw responders to a specific location. Such calls have been used as pranks in the past, resulting in false arrests and even deaths.

In Ohio, another woman was jailed after texting a fake active shooter report to her sister. The woman said a shooter was active at the Navistar manufacturing plant north of the city of Springfield, and that she was hiding with others in locked offices.

Law enforcement responding to the alert found the woman at the plant, who admitted she sent the text as a joke.

“Basically she had called her sister and said something to the effect of a guy was fired yesterday and has come back in with a gun,” Major Chris Clark told the Springfield News-Sun. “There was a lot of resources that we used today and put in place today all over a stupid April Fools’ joke.”

This file photo shows a suspect handcuffed during a trial on December 21, 2020 in Magdeburg, Germany.
RONNY HARTMANN/POOL/AFP via Getty Images

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