Phoenix Filmmaker Arrested After Allegedly Staging Terrorist Hoax


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ABC News(PHOENIX) — A Phoenix filmmaker has been arrested for allegedly videotaping his nephew dressed in a sheet while pointing a fake grenade launcher at passing cars in an apparent terrorist hoax to test police-response time after the Aurora, Colo., movie theater massacre, authorities said on Wednesday.

Police arrested Michael Turley, 39, on Monday after a nearly two-month investigation.  The filmmaker faces charges of knowingly giving a false impression of a terrorist act, endangerment and contributing to the delinquency of his 16-year-old nephew.

Police said they responded one minute after they first received calls, but the video, which Turley allegedly filmed on July 28 and then posted on YouTube, apparently shows the fake terrorist roaming around a busy intersection for 15 minutes.

“They told us they were just making a movie,” Phoenix Police Department spokesman James Holmes said, adding that there was no arrest that day.

“We deemed it a pretty dumb action but we didn’t know what their real intent was, so we initiated an investigation,” Holmes said.

Turley apparently posted the video on YouTube two days after filming.  He called it “Dark Knight Shooting Response, Rocket Launcher Police Test.”

“The Anonymous Filmmaker explores how the Phoenix Police Department reacts days after the event at the Century 16 Movie Theater in Aurora, Colorado where a gunman, James Holmes, killed 12 people and injured 58 more at the premiere of Batman The Dark Knight Rises,” the video description said.

Police spokesman Holmes said authorities became aware of the video a few weeks after they were called to the scene.

“We reviewed it and at that point we realized they were intentionally endangering the public to prove a point,” Holmes said.

Authorities arrested him on Monday after a search of his home.  ABC News has been unable to reach Turley or his attorney.

Police said Turley’s nephew faces pending charges.  They have not released his name.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

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