A dispatcher mistook a golf course's efforts to scare off birds seriously Monday in Palm Desert, prompting a massive response by sheriff's deputies who believed a possible shooting had occurred.
A man called 911 at 2:33 p.m. Monday from a home on Gary Avenue, but passed out before a dispatcher answered the phone, according to Corp. Courtney Donowho of the Riverside County Sheriff's Department.
"The golf course behind him fired a noise that sounds like a shotgun blast to scare off the ducks,'' Donowho said, adding that the dispatcher heard the noise and out of an abundance of caution notified deputies.
Investigators rushed to the scene, but sorted out the confusion within an hour, Donowho said.
Gary Avenue is near the Portola Country Club, which has a golf course.