“Newton, North Carolina police say around 10:30 Saturday night someone called claiming they were Sean Prince, Karen’s son,” wbtv.com reports. “The caller also used the mother’s address. The caller informed them he shot and killed his girlfriend and was thinking about killing his parents, who he said he was holding hostage. Catawba County SWAT teams quickly came to the house prepared to kick down the door. The caller told police he had a 12 gauge shot gun.” Now imagine you’re in the house, sleeping peacefully . . .
“I have never been so scared in my life,” the mother said. Police called the family. The family had no idea what was going on.
“I hear my son on the phone,” the mother said. “Don’t hurt us. Don’t shoot us. We are coming downstairs.”
Once the family got downstairs, they were greeted by SWAT members on the front yard.
“We come to the front porch,” the mother said, “And it’s like ‘get down here. Get on your knees. Drop to your knees. Get down now,’ and I am saying what in the hell is going on? We haven’t done anything.”
Officers zip-tied the parents and the son when the family came out.
“A bit of my hand was poking out of the top,” the son said. “So they put a metal set on me as well, so they had me in two sets of handcuffs while I was freaking out.”
Police started asking questions and determined it was a prank call, and that the family had been “Swatted.”
“Until we know it is a hoax,” Catawba County Captain Joel Fish said, “We have to treat it as real. It’s unfortunate that people are doing this.”
Mega-kudos to Captain Fish for calling the family before dropping the SWAT hammer. There’ve been plenty of incidents where SWAT teams go in and go in hard without any prior warning, reckoning that a heads-up gives the [alleged] bad guy or guys time to get ready to do bad things to good people.
It’s only a matter of time before SWATting leads to some seriously bad shit (to use the legal term). Someday a cop’s going to shoot an innocent or an innocent gun owner is going to shoot a cop – and get shot in return. How do the police avoid this nightmare scenario? By treating every call as a possible hoax. Is that part of their training? I doubt it.
How does a gun owner defend him or herself against SWATting, which can arrive violently without any warning? No clue. It’s a Kobayashi Maru (no win-situation). If you don’t respond to a violent home invasion with violence you could be mistaking a non-police invasion for a police invasion. And lose. And yes, drug thugs have been known to dress up as cops and raid homes yelling police! If you do respond, you could end-up in a firefight with the police. And lose.
Here’s the “official advise”:
It is important to know anyone can be “Swatted.” It is advised be careful with your personal information online.
If police suddenly show up at your house, follow orders. If you think you could be a target – call police and give them your phone number. Tell them to call your house first before responding to a violent 911 call coming from your home.
Proactively warn cops not to let some twisted gamer SWAT you? Has it really come to that?