Los Angeles County Sheriff's deputies arrested a Santa Clarita homeowner on suspicion of possessing weapons and narcotics after he called 911 and contended he was threatened by a tall man dressed as a clown and armed with a knife.
The homeowner told police that he was smoking a cigarette in front of his house at around 6 a.m. Sunday when a 6-foot man dressed as a clown approached him and brandished a knife.
The homeowner, armed with an unknown type of gun, fired a warning shot into the air. The clown fled the scene on foot, and the homeowner called 911, said Sgt. Cortland Myers of the Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff's station.
Deputies responded to the scene and could not find a knife-wielding clown, Myers said. However, they discovered that the homeowner was in possession of weapons and narcotics and arrested him.
Was there in fact a knife-wielding clown in the suburbs of Santa Clarita?
"That's the question of the day," Myers said.
Deputies did discover a man with a clown mask hiding in some bushes a few blocks away from where the warning shots were fired — a sighting "unusual for that time of morning," Myers said.
However, "the homeowner didn't identify this clown as the correct clown," Myers said. "His guy had a full clown costume and a mask, and the clown he saw was taller."
The homeowner, a 24-year-old man whose name was not released, is not believed to be mentally impaired or a danger to himself, Myers said.
Clown pranks, inspired by various viral videos and memes, have been reported around the country and throughout the state in recent weeks.
In Lancaster, authorities have received at least three reports of men in clown masks brandishing kitchen knives at people and filming their reactions.
In Modesto, a rash of clown sightings prompted police to issue a notice to residents, encouraging them to report suspicious clown sightings.
Online clown pranksters terrorized schools in Oakland, Fairfield and San Francisco this month.
Myers said he wasn't aware of any other clown sightings in the area.