Bunnell, FL - After responding to three separate "swatting" calls in one day, the Flagler County Sheriff's Office has a message for whoever phoned in those false emergencies: They're not laughing.
“Sometimes swatting calls are made to retaliate against someone for whatever reason and sometimes they are completely random,” Flagler Sheriff Rick Staly said. “The FCSO is made up of a team of highly trained men and women with years of experience who know the appropriate response for calls of this nature. However, SWATTING calls are not harmless fun, they are illegal, dangerous, and carry serious consequences that can divert responses to real emergencies.”
Swatting is when someone phones in a fake emergency—which includes reporting a bomb threat, murder, hostage situation, or a mental health emergency—in order to send emergency services to someones home, either as a prank or as a harassment tactic.
According to a release from the sheriff's office, deputies responded to three separate "emergencies" on Sunday (March 28th). Deputies responded to each call, but soon found out that they were swatting calls and posed no real threat to the public.
These types of calls can also turn deadly. According to an article from the Washington Post, a California man was sentenced to 20 years in prison for a swatting call that led to the death of a Kansas man. In that incident, officers responded to the victim's home after the prankster called in to report a fake hostage situation that involved guns. The victim was shot dead by police, who had surrounded his home.
Anyone with information regarding these calls or similar incidents is asked to call FCSO at 386-313-4911 or email TIPS@flaglersheriff.com. Those who wish to remain anonymous can call Crimestoppers at 1-888-277-TIPS (8477).