Erin Taylor was taking a stroll in the sand along the water at Disney’s Contemporary Resort in Orlando when a young man rushed up to her with terrifying news: The resort was in a state of emergency, he said. She needed to evacuate immediately. There was an active shooter on the property.
Taylor worked as a manager at the resort but somehow did not know anything about this.
She started to panic. That’s when the young man said he was just joking. He had been going around scaring people just to record their reactions as an experiment for a YouTube video, he said, according to court records.
The police would not find his prank very funny.
Dillion Burch, 22, was arrested by Orange County sheriff’s deputies in the early-morning hours Monday after creating a brief panic at the resort. He pleaded no contest to charges of disturbing the peace and disorderly intoxication Tuesday and was sentenced to three days in jail.
According to the arrest affidavit, Burch started telling people standing at the resort bus stop that there was an active shooter inside the hotel. Sometime afterward, he alarmed Taylor on the mini beach and approached two others. One of the people he spooked called 911 to report Burch’s claims of an active shooter, sending an Orange County sheriff’s deputy zooming on his way.
Then Burch went back into the lobby to chat up the front desk worker, telling her about his YouTube channel. According to the affidavit, he said, “they are probably looking for me.”
“Why?” the front desk worker asked.
Burch allegedly then told her about his fake active-shooter prank.
Confronted by the hotel manager, Jose Castillo, Burch claimed the YouTube video was for a school project, the affidavit said. He was tasked with recording people’s reactions when they find out there is an emergency occurring. Castillo told him that he was not allowed to do that and that the police were on their way to speak with him.
Burch allegedly fled, telling Castillo not to follow him.
He could hear the sirens as he left the lobby, so he took off to hide in the bushes, according to the affidavit.
Police say he soon crawled out from where he was hiding and announced that he was the one they were looking for.
Burch told police he was intoxicated, and police say they found a beer in his backpack.
Burch has been banned from Walt Disney World property.
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