Suspect Emailed Bomb Threat to a High School
North Monterey County—the Monterey County Sheriff’s Office announced today that they have made an arrest in a “swatting” case that took place in February this year. They have arrested a 17-year-old juvenile from Surprise, Arizona.
Swatting has become the term for anonymously filing a false and serious report with law enforcement, in hopes of provoking a significant response from police, sheriff’s departments, and especially SWAT teams. It became something of a fad among internet online game players, who may witness the raid of a rival player over a live streaming video feed.
The Monterey County Sheriff’s Office experienced their first swatting call from the 17-year-old suspect. He called the Monterey County Dispatch Center at nearly midnight and reported a home invasion with a victim shot. About ten units responded, along with fire and medical personnel who staged nearby. They found only a teenage girl at the home, but no emergency.
The 17-year-old girl identified the suspect as another juvenile she had met over the internet. She was able to identify his voice, which was recorded when he called into the dispatch center. She told authorities that she had met the suspect online and developed a “friendship” with him.
The next day, February 5, Authorities from North Monterey County High School received a bomb threat through email. The email claimed to be from the girl who was swatted, and also claimed she was a member of ISIS. The message included a threat that “she” was going to kill the kids at the school if $15,000.00 was not left at the front gate of the school. The threat included a person being on school grounds with assault weapons and bombs.
As a result of the email, approximately 1100 students and staff evacuated the school, and every available unit responded to assist with the evacuation. Some Deputies searched the school grounds for a suspect, weapons and bombs. These types of messages continued over several days, causing fear in the community. Some students did not return to school for several weeks.
The female victim in the first call, as well as her family and other friends, received a number of suspicious calls over the next few weeks. A forensic examination of the victim’s computer help track the suspect to the state of Arizona.
With the assistance of Surprise Police Department, along with the Secret Service, a search warrant was served at the residence on Thursday, May 14. The search produced numerous items of evidence. The suspect was interviewed, and police found that this was not his first time committing crimes of this type. He was arrested and will be prosecuted for the crime.