The presence of a SWAT team and heavy police activity at the Walmart in Ephrata Wednesday afternoon led to phone calls into the KPQ studios. 

Deputies say they were notified about an active shooter at Walmart, but then determined it was a false alarm. 

Grant County Sheriff's spokesperson Kyle Foreman says the SWAT team was sent to the store before the false alarm was known. 

"The SWAT team was training and just happened to be nearby and were there," said Foreman. "Otherwise, it would have been resolved before the SWAT team was able to mobilize.  They just happened to be training and already in their gear and vehicles nearby. That's why they arrived so fast." 

The call into the dispatch center is being called a "swatting", which is a false call intended to cause a police response.  

Matters were further complicated because there are three Walmart stores in Grant County - Moses Lake, Othello and Ephrata – and the swatter didn’t specify which location had the active shooter.  

Foreman said they were able to quickly verify there was no threat at the stores in Moses Lake and Othello, but the rumor of an active shooter lingered at the Ehprata. 

The possibility of an active shooter there led to several schools in Ephrata going into lockdown for a time.  

 Foreman said swatting calls can be disruptive. 

"What they do is they cause a massive response of emergency personnel," Foreman said. "They cause people to be scared. They cause businesses to be evacuated. They cause schools to go into lockdown, and kids to be scared and parents to be scared. That's what they cause."  

Foreman said swatters are rarely tracked down because they use sophisticated methods such as Caller ID spoofing - the process of changing the Caller ID to any number other than the actual calling number. 

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