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911 calls released in grenade launcher hoax

Man said he wanted to test police response to a fake terrorism call

By PoliceOne Staff

PHOENIX — Many witnesses to a masked teen pointing a grenade launcher at passing cars told authorities they assumed the weapon wasn't real, according to 911 calls released Thursday that reveal more about the terrorism hoax.

Michael D. Turley, 39, was arrested Monday after the bizarre film was posted to YouTube roughly two months ago. In the intro, the narrator said he wanted to test police response to the incident, making mention of the Aurora, Colo., movie theater shooting that killed 12 in July.

Callers said "kid" was brandishing what appeared to be a bazooka, grenade launcher or rocket launcher  on July 28 in northwest Phoenix.

"I don’t know if it’s real or not, but it’s kind of bizarre," a caller said. "He’s wearing a dress with a torpedo on his shoulder and pointing it left and right."

"I assume it’s a fake. I hope so," another man said in a call. "I think you guys should check it out."

"It looks like there's another kid with him videotaping him," one caller told dispatchers. "They probably think it’s funny. It’s not really funny."

The police response took approximately three minutes from the first 911 call, according to Phoenix police spokesman James Holmes. An officer found Turley and the teen standing in Turley's driveway, where he told them to put down the weapon and the camera, took their names and left the scene.

After speaking to witnesses and seeing the YouTube video, police arrested Turley. He was charged with creating a false impression of a terrorist act, endangerment, contributing to the delinquency of a minor and misconduct involving simulated explosives.

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