Intoxicated woman charged in 911 shooting hoax

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VENETIA, Pa. - A woman has been jailed on charges she phoned in a hoax report of a shooting to 911 dispatchers that prompted police to surround the Peters Township home of an estranged relative.

According to police, 36-year-old Tara Howard, of Canonsburg, reported someone had been shot and was bleeding inside the Justabout Road home about 2 p.m. Wednesday.

Peters Township Police Chief Harry Fruecht, along with dozens of other officers, surrounded the house.

“Cecil sent two guys over, state police got on the air and said they were on their way,” Fruecht said. “We started hailing the home from the PA system in one of the units in an attempt to get the people to come out. When you have weapons, you just don’t know what to expect.”

Authorities said the homeowner arrived to find police there, and told them he had a cellphone voicemail from the woman, who had warned him she planned to cause police an "inconvenience."

“He had a phone message on his phone indicating that this young lady had called and threatened to do this. It was a hoax,” Fruecht said.

Police said the woman was intoxicated and was also identified because she later called back two or three times with the phony information.

“I hate to see us respond to situations like that when they are real, let alone when they’re a hoax,” Fruecht said.

Howard was arrested late Wednesday night and faces a preliminary hearing Feb. 19 on charges of false reports and disorderly conduct.