“Swatting” in San Jose

| February 22, 2018 | 19 Comments

KTUE reports on the latest incident of “Swatting” which happened in San Jose, California. Officers responded to a 9-1-1 call that claimed a home had been the target of a home invasion conducted by armed thieves.

But the call ended up being bogus. It’s part of a new fad called “Swatting.” San Jose police units converge at a house in the 200-block of North 11th Street, shortly before 5 p.m. Officers quickly deploy and duck behind cars and trees for cover, with one wearing tactical gear and pointing the business end of an AR-15 at a target. The 911 call that brought them claimed a home invasion and robbery by armed men.. But it wasn’t true, it was a hoax.

“We just got swatted. I didn’t think that would happen. But that’s the reality I’m dealing with,” said Matt Stillman, the target of the prank call to police.

He says he was inside writing code with friends when police called, asked if armed men were holding them hostage, then ordered all five people out with their hands behind their backs.

This incident didn’t end like the one in Wichita where Andrew Finch was shot to death by an anxious police officer. Stillman thinks a disgruntled neighbor called in the bogus incident.

“Cause he’s a hater. And he tried to run me over with his car a couple of months ago. Wanna be a gang-banger who can’t do anything with his life,” said Stillman.

I guess it’s all part of the new normal.

Category: Crime

Comments (19)

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  1. Old Trooper says:

    “Swatting” is not a new fad. “Journalists”; uh huh.

    • Perry Gaskill says:

      I’d be inclined to cut the KTVU reporter some slack on the fad issue. Although swatting has been around for awhile, there seems to be a spike of increased incidents in the Bay Area over the past few months.

      Still, the reporter leaves an apparent hole in the story as far as lack of motive. Citing the suspected neighbor as a “hater” is a lame explanation.

      For what it’s worth, there are a couple of weird dynamics possibly related to swatting which might have been touched on. One is that it’s apparently not uncommon for swatting incidents to be related to online gaming, particularly Call of Duty. Another is that an influx of Silicon Valley workers looking for affordable housing in blue collar towns such as San Jose has generated some bad blood.

  2. OWB says:

    Am thankful that I have neighbors who would call to ask me why the police had my house surrounded!

    Yeah, this isn’t all that new a thing. Before there was SWAT, false alarms were being called in. Proably more fun now, though.

    Wonder just what the training is for the call screeners when they get a call from a terrified homeowner reporting unknown folks outside attempting entry. “Stay on the line, we have units en route.” And what do they tell the homeowner when the cops responding discover the cops are already there?

  3. MCPO NYC USN Ret. says:

    The charge should be attempted murder, as the intent IS for someone to be shot.

    Several states are actually looking at such statutes.

  4. 2/17 Air Cav says:

    “Various departments say the impact of this kind of prank depends on how many resources are mobilized, and the size of the effected police force.”

    Yeah, not to mention the impact on the target of the bogus call. I don’t know about anyone else, but having my house surrounded by SWAT or uniforms in force, with guns drawn and ordering me to come out is not my idea of a good time.

    • rgr1480 says:

      And the cost ought to be charged to whomever placed the prank call; if the prankster is a minor living with parents, the parents should be billed.

      • OWB says:

        Evidently it can be in some jurisdictions. Have also heard that the degree of the criminal charge for the call can depend upon the cost to roll all the equipment and personnel. Injuries can up the ante as well.

      • bg2 says:

        “the parents should be billed.” Yes.

        I am glad the incident ended safely for the target of the fraud. San Jose police are known to be fairly aggressive in many instances. Except when they are standing down at a conservative rally and allowing patriots to be beaten by leftist thugs.

  5. CCO says:

    The new thing about swatting is that, with the right software, the call could come from anywhere in the world. The software call spoof the caller ID to from your own landline, etc.

    • Graybeard says:

      I believe that is what happened to Andrew Finch – the perp spoofed the phone number.

      I still think they need to hold that shooter criminally responsible, but it will probably be covered up “pending the outcome of an internal investigation.”

  6. RM3(SS) says:

    For police, it’s damned if you do, damned if you don’t. I’ve been on these kinds of calls, we have to take them seriously, and at least twice that I can remember it was the real thing.

    • Graybeard says:

      Yes, and I hope I don’t sound like I’m picking on our LEOs.

      But I would also argue that any LEO on a SWAT team should be a street veteran of some 10 years experience. That way they’ve had a chance to get into high-adrenaline situations and learn how to perform professionally through that stress.

      I would bet that the LEO that pulled the trigger on Andrew Finch either did not have a lot of experience in those situations, or was one of the few itching for the chance to pull the trigger, or unreasonably fearful for some external reason.

      A skilled, professional SWAT team should never pull the trigger in a case like Andrew Finch’s.


      • 2/17 Air Cav says:

        GB. The LEO who killed Finch had seven years and reportedly discharged his weapon the moment Finch appeared in his own doorway. That signals to me that someone’s finger was where it should not have been. And he wasn’t a SWAT officer. As for the 10 years experience, there is a minimum, usually two-three years, that an LEO must serve for SWAT eligibility. If a man serves, say, four years in the military, no matter what his MOS, and joins a PD after discharge, 10 years a tad much. In my book, if I were swatted, I would much prefer that a SWAT officer have me in his sights than a lesser trained street LEO. As I understand it, differing views are permitted here!

        • Graybeard says:

          The “10 years” was a bit over-the-top, I admit.

          But on the other hand I’ve listened to my LEO brother and his LEO brother-in-law swap stories and know that an inexperienced LEO can get dangerously jittery.

          If I have to be on the business end of any LEO’s firearm, I much prefer that the individual behind the gun have maturity and experience in criminal interactions than a newbie.

          For the ex-military, there needs to be a training and break-in time for the move from combat to law-enforcement actions. They take different strategies. (And there is a war-story behind that stance, as well.) The experienced combat veteran may or may not be the best guy to have on the trigger.

          The actual number for the minimum may be negotiable, but I want it to be more then “on the force” but include some real street experience. I’ve known of guys who served their entire LEO careers behind a desk. That dude does not need to be on the trigger.

          And if the LEO had his booger hook on the bang switch when he shouldn’t, he needs to be held accountable. An innocent man died. Whatever the mistake was, it needs to be fixed.

          But I’m just a goober in a prison system. Others may have better perspectives.

          • Mason says:

            It really depends on the department. Large, urban departments spend a lot of time and money on initial training. So after the academy and 16 or so weeks of field training, they’re well on their way. A year of police in an urban area and you’re getting seasoned.

            On the other hand, rural counties and small cities may only spend a few days post-academy in field training. I know people that went to work for a tiny rural department and their training was to spend three saturdays riding shotgun in a county squad.

            As for the SWAT teams, again it depends on the department how well trained they are. Only the really big agencies have a full time SWAT team, the rest have it as an added duty to your regular assignment. They probably have a tad more training than a street cop, but really most of their training is just practicing building entries and searches (something road cops do with just two or three guys on alarm calls all the time). In a lot of cases SWAT are just guys with better armor and some cooler toys (Arwen loaded with tear gas rounds or flashbangs).

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