Authorities investigating bomb threat at hospital in Orange County as possible swatting call

Orange County Sheriff's detectives in Laguna Hills determined that a bomb threat against MemorialCare Saddleback Hospital on Sunday was a hoax, and are now investigating it as a possible swatting call, after briefly evacuating the hospital.

Deputies responded to the hospital, located at 24451 Health Center Dr., around 3 p.m. after getting a call from an individual who claimed to be at the location with a bomb.

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Deputies established a perimeter and worked with security to assess evacuate the hospital.

Images from SkyFOX show Saddleback Hospital being evacuated due to a possible bomb threat. (FOX 11)

Images from SkyFOX showed the SWAT team entering the hospital to investigate the bomb threat.

(FOX 11)

By 4 p.m., the department wrote on Twitter that they were investigating the situation as a possible swatting call.

After the SWAT team cleared the scene for any potential bomb shortly before 5 p.m., the patients were escorted back into the hospital, images from SkyFOX showed.

"Investigators have confirmed the reported bomb threat at Saddleback Hospital was false," the Laguna Hills station wrote on Twitter at 5:11 p.m. "The area was searched and nothing suspicious was located."

A swatting call is when someone creates a hoax or makes a phony call to 911 aimed at bringing out police and a SWAT team making, them believe there is a serious emergency. Swatting carries a high risk of violence, and causes tax dollars to be wasted when authorities respond to a false report of a serious law enforcement emergency, as well as liability if things go wrong. A California man was sentenced in 2019 to 20 years in prison for carrying out a fatal 2017 swatting call.

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