An anonymous caller claimed to have shot a store clerk at Coyote Club on Taos Plaza late Thursday afternoon (March 9), but local law enforcement officers discovered that it was a hoax.
Local, county and state police officers responded to Taos Plaza after the false report was made to Taos Central Dispatch at 4:05 p.m., according to Taos Police Chief John Wentz. After searching the area and speaking with employees at Coyote Club, a longstanding shop on the southwest corner of the plaza, officers found no evidence a shooting had taken place.
During the search, Chief Wentz said the same anonymous caller called again, saying he could see the officers searching the plaza and would shoot them as well, but again, no shooting occurred.
Wentz explained that, although the caller had masked his number, he was working in tandem with the Taos County Sheriff's Office and New Mexico State Police to try to identify the voice of the person who had made the threat. As of Thursday evening, however, they had not identified a suspect.
Last month, law enforcement released recordings of a series of prank calls that threatened shootings were taking place at schools in other parts of New Mexico. On Friday (March 10) Wentz said he released an audio recording of the call, so that locals might be able to help make an identification. This was after the caller made another fallacious threat that same day.
The audio clip can be heard on the online version of this article: taosnews.com/public-safety/law-enforcement-officers-respond-to-shooting-hoax-on-taos-plaza/article_10705294-bee0-11ed-b12a-173f242a5109.html
He said companies that allow callers to mask their numbers tend to not cooperate when customers use their services to make threats.
He said he was relieved to learn that Thursday's incident wasn't the real thing.
"When they're talking about stuff like this, I prefer for them to be prank calls," he said.
On Tuesday (March 14), Wentz told the Taos News in an email that there were no new updates and the evidence they were seeking would take a long time to obtain.
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