SAN JOSE -- A man who called authorities and said he had just killed two people and planted bombs in and outside a Fruitdale Avenue home triggered a major response around 8 p.m. Wednesday before it was determined to be a hoax, according to sheriff's officials.
"We had 25 to 30 deputies dedicated to this call," said Santa Clara County sheriff's spokesman Sgt. Kurtis Stenderup. "We set a perimeter up, and let our special SWAT and bomb squad units know something was going on and put them on standby. We were assisted by San Jose fire, police and county emergency medical teams, all at the staging area waiting to see what was going to happen."
The home in question was in the 2200 block of Fruitdale near Bascom Avenue, and abutted the Santa Clara Valley Medical Center, which was also notified about the situation.
About an hour and a half after the call came in, teams went into the darkened home and found it vacant and devoid of any explosives.
Stenderup said that in a way they "got lucky" because they discovered it was a hoax before assembling more resources.
He said the first red flag was raised because the emergency call came in from a cellphone, which investigators are now trying to track down.
"I don't know if something like this has happened here before, but I can't think of anything that involved a response this extensive," he said.
Last November, the Los Angeles City Council began offering rewards for information leading to people pulling hoaxes known as "swatting," in which a crime is reported that brings a large police response to a home where nothing of the sort is happening.
According to the Los Angeles Times, there were four such incidents last April, including at the homes of Rihanna, Justin Timberlake and Selena Gomez. A Los Angeles councilman was also swatted.
Stenderup said they did not immediately know why the Fruitdale home, in an unincorporated pocket of San Jose, was targeted.
Contact Eric Kurhi at 408-920-5852. Follow him at Twitter.com/erickurhi.