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Florida Teen Accused of Swatting Calls Could Face Jail Time

The 911 call came in on May 12. The caller told a dispatcher in Seminole County, Fla., that he was armed with an AR-15 rifle and pipe bombs, and was about to attack a mosque “in the name of Satan,” he said. About 30 law enforcement officers rushed to the Masjid Al Hayy mosque in Sanford, Fla. On arrival, they saw no gunman, victims or bombs, and determined the call was a swatting incident, a hoax in which a caller fabricates an emergency to induce a police response. On Wednesday, a Seminole County judge found that there was enough evidence to jail a 17-year-old who prosecutors allege was responsible not only for the swatting call to the mosque, but hundreds of others around the U.S. over two years, the Washington Post reports. Alan Filion is accused of running a swatting service since 2022, targeting high schools, historically Black colleges and universities as well as FBI agents’ homes. The state’s attorney is charging him with four felonies, including three related to false reporting.

Swatting incidents have occurred at more than 500 U.S. schools over the past year. The trend has also struck the White House and politicians. Investigators allege Filion made hundreds of calls, including to Maryland, Pennsylvania, Louisiana, Texas, Oklahoma, Iowa and Washington state. In an apparent effort to deceive law enforcement, he allegedly swatted his own home multiple times. In June 2023, the head of the FBI’s Criminal Justice Information Services division in West Virginia told NBC News about the agency’s new database of swatting incidents that would allow them to share information between law enforcement agencies around the country. Scott Schubert, the division’s chief, said that the database would allow the bureau to get “a common operating picture of what’s going on across the country.”


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