The family home of David Hogg — gun-control advocate and a survivor of the deadly February shooting at a high school in Parkland, Florida — was surrounded by members of the Broward County Swat Team Tuesday morning after a prank call about a hostage situation.
“It was a hoax call,” Broward County Sheriff’s Office spokeswoman Gina Carter said.
A call came into the Broward Sheriff’s Office claiming a hostage situation at the home.
“A SWAT team responded and cleared the home,” she said. “We are investigating who made the call.”
— WPLG Local 10 News (@WPLGLocal10) June 5, 2018
Hogg was not home at the time of the incident. He is currently in Washington with his mother to accept the RFK Human Rights award.
In a phone interview with WPLG-TV in Miami, Hogg said the prank was likely the work of someone who opposes his efforts to enact changes to the country’s gun laws.
“I think it’s really a distraction from what we’re trying to fix here, which is the massive gun-violence epidemic in this country,” Hogg said.
Hogg said the incident is proof of “how many people are trying to stop us from what we’re trying to do, which is stop these kids from dying.”
“There’s people trying to distract from what we’re trying to push here, which is the March For Our Lives Road To Change,” Hogg said. “And I want people to know, like, we’re just trying to advocate for change. There’s going to be people against it and always will be, but we’re going to keep going no matter what. Nothing will stop us.”
Hunter Pollack, whose sister Meadow was among those killed in the Parkland shooting, called the person who pulled the prank a “sicko.”
— Hunter Pollack (@PollackHunter) June 5, 2018
The Broward Sheriff’s Office said they plan to investigate and arrest the person behind the call.
The prank — known as “swatting” because it almost always prompts a SWAT team response — is considered a growing problem for law enforcement officials. The most high-profile cases have seen SWAT teams deployed to the homes of such celebrities as Ashton Kutcher and Justin Bieber after prank swatting calls.
A 2015 New York Times story outlined how swatting was a popular prank among some in the online gaming community, who took a perverse pleasure in watching a rival on camera suddenly encounter a dramatic police presence at their home.
“With the live-streaming platforms, it amplifies the entire situation,” said James Clayton Eubanks, then 22, who told the Times he had been swatted about a half-dozen times while he streamed his Call of Duty sessions. “Not only do they get to do this and cause this misery, they get to watch it unfold in front of thousands of people.”
At least one swatting prank has turned deadly. Last year, a 25-year-old California man’s prank call regarding a hostage situation resulted in SWAT teams in Wichita, Kansas responding to a home and fatally shooting a 28-year-old man who emerged from the front door. The California man was later arrested.
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