Reported shooting at Lil Wayne's Miami Beach home was hoax, police say

Reported shooting at Lil Wayne's Miami Beach home was hoax, police say
Rapper Lil Wayne, shown in 2013, was not at home when police were falsely alerted about a shooting there, his record label said. (Jordan Strauss / Invision/Associated Press)

Police have determined that a reported shooting at Lil Wayne's multimillion-dollar Miami Beach home was a hoax.

On Wednesday afternoon, police received a report that gunshots had been fired at the hip-hop star's waterfront home around 12:45 p.m. local time, according to Officer Ernesto Rodriguez, a Miami Beach Police Department spokesman.


After nearly an hour at the scene, officers had "not made contact with anyone nor identified any victims," Rodriguez said.

At 3 p.m. Eastern time, the police department confirmed the report was a "swatting" incident. Swatting is a phone prank in which someone relays false information to law enforcement, usually regarding a celebrity, prompting a massive police response.

"MBPD handles all calls of this nature in a serious manner. In this case it appears to have be a hoax," Miami Beach police said on Twitter.

Wayne, whose real name is Dwayne Michael Carter Jr., was not home at the time, according to Young Money Entertainment, the label he founded in 2005.

"Wayne is OK. Wasn't home during alleged events," read a tweet from Young Money's verified account. 

Calls and emails to Wayne's agent were not immediately returned. Two of Wayne's managers were on the scene, according to Rodriguez, but it was not clear when they arrived or if anyone was in the home before the phone call was made.

Rodriguez said the call came in on the department's non-emergency line, and it was not clear its source was known.

When such hoaxes became popular several years ago, callers would often tell police that hostages were involved. In response, law enforcement agencies would deploy SWAT teams to the purported crime scenes, which led to the "swatting" term.

The pranks initially targeted celebrities, but have since become a method of revenge used by online gamers after suffering defeats in combat-style video games like "Call of Duty" or "Battlefield."

Swatting has not been a common problem for police in Miami Beach, according to Rodriguez, who said the caller or callers could be charged with misuse of the emergency communications system. More serious charges could follow, he said, because of the size of the police response.

As one of hip-hop's biggest success stories, Wayne has periodically run into trouble with the trappings of the lifestyle he has rapped about, serving eight months in prison in 2010 for illegal weapons possession. In December 2012, he agreed to pay $7.7 million in back taxes to prevent the Internal Revenue Service from seizing his Miami Beach mansion.

Earlier this year, Wayne filed a $51-million lawsuit against his longtime Miami-based label, Cash Money, claiming its owes him at least $10 million. Property records show the Miami Beach home is valued at $11.6 million.

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