Report of shooting at Miami Beach home of rapper Lil Wayne a 'hoax', say police

MIAMI BEACH, Florida (REUTERS) - A report of a shooting at the Miami Beach home of Grammy-winning rapper Lil Wayne was declared a hoax by police on Wednesday after a search found no evidence of victims or shots fired.

Earlier in the day, Miami Beach police said they received a call on a non-emergency line from a person saying he had shot four people at the home and needed assistance.

"We can say for sure it was a hoax," police spokesman Ernesto Rodriguez said after a Swat team searched the home in an exclusive island neighbourhood.

"We were unable to locate any victims or subjects."

Miami Beach police tweeted "unfortunately this appears to be a 'swatting' call," referring to a trend of police receiving false emergency calls, sometimes targeting celebrities.

Wayne's record company, Young Money, said on Twitter he was not at home at the time and he later tweeted that the incident was a "prank kall."

The hoax call trend is known as "swatting" because Swat (Special Weapons and Tactics) officers often are sent to the purported crime scenes.

Authorities say such situations can be dangerous due to the risk of a misunderstanding between police and occupants of a building.

Swatting calls have previously sent police to the homes of actor Ashton Kutcher and singers Justin Bieber and Miley Cyrus.

Police - some wearing bullet-proof vests - surrounded Wayne's nine-bedroom home, which is valued at US$9.2 million (S$12 million), and TV images showed a Swat truck arriving on the scene.

Local media, citing representatives for the rapper, whose real name is Dwayne Michael Carter Jr., said he was not at home at the time of the reported incident.

In 2008, Wayne won Grammy Awards for best rap album, best rap song, best rap solo performance and was part of the award-winning best rap group performance.

He has had run-ins with the law on weapons and drug charges, and went to prison in New York in a gun case.