Investigations Begin After Two Holiday Swatting Calls Target GOP Members

( – Investigators are searching for more information following Christmas swatting calls that targeted two GOP members of Congress. The spiteful act very easily could have ended in tragedy, but police responded appropriately, and no one was hurt in either instance. The misleading calls are part of a growing problem in which disgruntled Americans are abusing law enforcement to stir up chaos in the lives of elected officials and other citizens.

Two Fraudulent Calls

The households of Reps. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA) and Brandon Williams (R-NY) both reportedly averted disaster on Christmas Day. Fortunately, the swatting attempts ended well, and the representatives applauded the quick actions of their local police departments. Investigators are still uncertain as to whether there are ties between the two instances.

The first event occurred shortly before 11 a.m. when a man called a suicide hotline alleging that he had shot his girlfriend and was preparing to kill himself. He gave responders Greene’s address, but they recognized the residence as belonging to the Georgia representative. Law enforcement personnel contacted her security detail while officers were still on their way to the home. They were able to confirm that Greene and her family were safe and called off the police response before units had a chance to arrive at her address.

Williams experienced a similar situation according to The Hill. Several police cars showed up at his house that afternoon in response to a call that there was an emergency at the residence. Responders had called ahead of time, so their presence didn’t take the New York representative by surprise, but other victims in previous encounters haven’t been as lucky.

A Growing Problem

Swatting — making a fake call to law enforcement in the hopes of triggering a traumatic SWAT-type raid on a targeted victim — has become an increasing issue within the online community. It has caused accidental conflicts between victims and police, and officials often have a hard time finding perpetrators due to IP-cloaking and/or hired third parties. At least two people have died as a result of the practice.

One swatting victim was a 28-year-old who got caught in an online feud between two other individuals and was shot dead by responding police, who believed he had a hostage when he answered his front door. Another innocent casualty resulted after a 60-year-old man refused to give up his Twitter handle, @Tennessee. He had a fatal heart attack when police forced him out of his home at gunpoint in response to a false bomb threat.

Investigators consider swatting a serious criminal offense because of both the danger it poses to all parties involved and the wasteful abuse of precious first responder resources.

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