Inside WRAL

WRAL Investigates prank SWAT calls in the Triangle

Posted April 27, 2015
Updated April 29, 2015

A teenager is accused of shooting his parents. A caller tells 911 that a man killed his wife and child. Both stories are made up, pranks that led SWAT teams to surround Triangle homes.

It’s called “swatting.” Video gamers make a fake 911 call to target an online opponent, then they watch over a live video stream as police move in.

The national reports got our attention, so the WRAL Investigates team called around to several local police departments and found the prank is growing in frequency here in our community. Through police reports, we discovered a local case that was dangerously close to a violent end. We tracked down the SWAT detective who headed up the hostage rescue team, as well as the video gamer who came face-to-face with the SWAT team in the middle of the night. We let them walk us through what happened that night, and how a split second made the difference in this “swatting” incident ending peacefully.

From the original call, to the response, to the possible punishment, WRAL Investigates “swatting” and shares the message police have for pranksters on the other end of the video game.

If you, your kids or your grandkids play video games online, you’ll be interested in the story that airs on TV Wednesday at 6 p.m.

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