US lawmakers targeted by swatting hoaxes in multiple states

Georgia Congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene
Image caption,Georgia Congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene said it was her eighth time being targetted

By Max Matza

BBC News

Lawmakers around the US have been targeted by hoax calls known as “swatting”.

Police rushed to the home of Florida Senator Rick Scott on Wednesday after receiving a hoax call that a gunman had killed his wife at the scene.

And Georgia Congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene said she was “swatted” on Christmas Day, with her family present.

Most of the swatting calls this week appeared to target Republican officials. No injuries were reported.

But some Democrats were also targeted, such as Boston Mayor Michelle Wu who also had a Swat team called to her home on Christmas.

Ms Greene, a prominent conservative supporter of Republican frontrunner Donald Trump, said on social media that it was just the latest in a series of hoax calls against her.

“I have been swatted 8 times but the FBI can’t seem to figure out who is responsible for the swatting,” she wrote on X, formerly Twitter.

Multiple officials in other states were also targeted by swatting attacks.

“My home was ‘swatted’ on Christmas. Someone hoped police might accidentally kill me and my family,” posted New York Republican Congressman Brandon Williams.

Authorities say swatting – making prank calls to emergency services to deploy a Swat team – has grown in popularity.

Earlier this month, nearly 200 Jewish synagogues and schools across the US were targeted in just one weekend.

An FBI memo obtained by ABC News said it appeared the threats against synagogues and schools were all connected.

Assistant FBI Director Cathy Milhoan said the threats “appear to be originating from outside of the United States”.

In December 2018, a 28-year-old Kansas man was inadvertently shot dead by a heavily armed police unit that had been sent to his home by a prank call about a hostage situation.

A Los Angeles man was later sentenced to 20 years in prison for placing the hoax call that led to the shooting.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *