CHEROKEE COUNTY, Ga. – A 15-year-old Georgia teen was arrested and is reportedly responsible for making a prank call, or “swatting” call, that resulted in dozens of officers responding to a home to deal with a major crime, officials said.
The Cherokee County Sheriff’s Office received a call on March 19 from an individual who claimed he murdered his mother and was about to kill two sisters. The person also threatened to kill any officers who tried to intervene, according to a news release from the law enforcement agency, reported The Telegraph.
Deputies responded to the alleged caller’s house and requested a SWAT team deployment. Upon arrival, they met a man who seemed “confused and alarmed” as he cooperated by coming outside to speak with deputies.
As others inside the home came out, and law enforcement personnel cleared the residence, it quickly became apparent there was no emergency, but was a “swatting” hoax, according to the press statement.
“Over 30 officers from multiple locations responded to this call,” the sheriff’s office said.
CCSO detectives identified a 15-year-old suspect from Harlem, Georgia, as the culprit. He was taken into custody May 3 and charged with terroristic threats, transmitting a false emergency call, and misuse of 911, the release said.
Moreover, law enforcement authorities believe the teenager is responsible for similar swatting calls in Windsor Lock, Connecticut; Charlotte, North Carolina; and Tampa, Florida,
SWAT teams made forced entry into homes on two of the calls, according to The Telegraph.
Detectives said they heard audio of the 15-year-old making a swatting call in a Sony PlayStation “party chat,” where players can speak to one another during games.
Hence, investigators obtained a search warrant and seized the teen’s Sony PlayStation console, as well as two cellphones, according to the news outlet.
“It is suspected the motivation behind the calls is related to online gaming disputes,” CCSO said in the news release.
The practice of “swatting” is a violation of state and federal law and has led to tragic outcomes.
Perhaps the most notable swatting case involved a man in Los Angeles, Tyler Barriss, calling the police on a man in Kansas, Andrew Finch, Insider reported.
Barriss told police that Finch had killed a family member and held two others hostage. When officers arrived at Finch’s house, they shot and killed him. Barriss was later arrested and sentenced to 20 years in prison for the crime.