Sheriff’s deputies and the Santa Barbara County Fire Department responded Thursday to the 300 block of Arroyo Road near Goleta after reports of a possible shooting, but it appears to have been a hoax.
A call came into the Sheriff's Department employee line, not dispatch, around 11:30 a.m. Thursday from a man who said he murdered his wife and child, would commit suicide himself and was going to burn the house down, Sheriff's Department spokeswoman Kelly Hoover said.
She said the Sheriff’s Department sent a reverse notification call through the 9-1-1 system to residents in the area, telling them to shelter in place, and evacuated the adjacent neighbors to the home.
The area was flooded with law enforcement, including a helicopter and SWAT team, but the residents of the reported home were completely unaware the call had been made.
Deputies searched the house and backyard, finding nothing.
"This appears to be a hoax," Hoover said. "It's an incredibly cruel trick to play in light of what occurred this weekend."
Sgt. Mark Williams said the Sheriff's Department is investigating where the call came from, noting that it was an out-of-town area code.
Several schools were locked down during the response, but cleared by about 12:45 p.m.