Spring Valley, NY – Police in Rockland County rushed to the Target store in Spring Valley on Thursday after a man claimed he had taken hostages and was going to blow up the store, but officials later said it all turned out to be a “swatting” incident.
Spring Valley police said they received a call at 5:35 p.m. on Dec. 10 from a man who claimed he was armed with a gun and explosives and said he had taken hostages at the Target store in Spring Valley Marketplace, according to the New City Patch.
Multiple law enforcement agencies rushed to the scene.
“The incident turned into a multi-departmental operation being led by the Spring Valley Police Department,” Spring Valley police officials said in a press release later that night.
Law enforcement officers evacuated the big box store and searched it with bomb squads and K9s, the New City Patch reported.
🇺🇸 — DEVELOPING: Spring Valley Police along with several different agencies responded to a Bomb Threat at the Target Store at the Spring Valley Marketplace. Target and Bingo evacuated. Police asked the public to stay clear of the area until further notice. pic.twitter.com/0yffRAFMR8
— Belaaz (@TheBelaaz) December 11, 2020
“Once the Target store was deemed safe of any immediate threat, the store was re-opened as well as the rest of vehicular and pedestrian traffic to the Spring Valley Marketplace. Although the investigation is currently pending, it appears that the initial call was a ‘swatting’ incident,” Spring Valley Police Detective Matthew Galli said, according to the Daily Voice.
“Swatting” is a criminal activity whereby someone calls in a fake emergency with the aim of drawing law enforcement – specifically SWAT teams – to respond to a bogus threat at a home or business with a goal of disrupting the target, the New City Patch reported.
Social media went wild when the onslaught of police officers and deputies arrived at the Target store.
Rumors grew quickly as police were heard asking for fire trucks and ambulances to be on standby, the New City Patch reported.
Spring Valley: PD responding to Target for a armed man with a long gun holding hostages
— Rockland Buff (@Rockland_Buff) December 10, 2020
Police departments who were involved in the massive response took to social media to clarify things as soon as the Target store was cleared.
Orange County sheriff responding with 2 k9 units & @nyspolice is also sending another k9 unit.
— Rockland Buff (@Rockland_Buff) December 11, 2020
“There are no hostages or injuries at the Target store at this time. Spring Valley PD is the lead agency on scene, they will be releasing further details regarding this incident,” the Clarkstown Police Department posted its official Facebook page at about 8:15 p.m., according to the New City Patch.
Spring Valley police thanked all the first responders who had raced to the shopping plaza to assist.
Breaking News: SVPD says it appears a "swatting incident" shut the Target at the Spring Valley Marketplace earlier this evening. Multiple departments assisted in the case, which resulted in the Target Store being evacuated and cleared. More to come tomorrow on "The Morning Show." pic.twitter.com/htASlyTeTb
— WRCR Radio (@WRCR1700) December 11, 2020
— Mike (@FuctupMike) December 11, 2020
The Clarkstown Police Department, the Town of Ramapo Police Department, the Rockland County Sheriff’s Office, the New York State Police, the M.T.A. Police, the South Nyack Grandview Police, the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s (FBI) Joint Terrorism Task Force (JTTF), the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), the Spring Valley Fire Department, the Spring Hill Community Ambulance Corps, and the Rockland County Paramedic Services all responded to the call at the Target, the New City Patch reported.