Fake emergency in Gloucester is second on day of swatting bill action

Watchful Eye

This month marked the second time that a swatting incident occurred on the same day that action was being taken on Virginia's swatting bill.

Swatting is when police are called with a massive response to for a phony emergency.

On May 4, Virginia Governor Glenn Youngkin signed HB 1572 into law increasing the penalties for swatting.

As of July 1, swatting will be a Class 1 misdemeanor and there are stiffer penalties if someone is hurt or killed during the response. Plus, the caller liable for the resources wasted.

“These aren’t prank calls. This is a crime,” Younkin said at the signing ceremony.

And that very day, Gloucester County Sheriff’s Office experienced such an incident.

Someone called 911 and reported that he was on Short Lane and had shot his wife, had his son tied up, and was armed with a shotgun and knife “ready” for whoever came out to respond, WTKR News 3 reported.

Speaking on the false report, which drew a massive response, Gloucester Sheriff Darrell Warren Jr. told News 3, “It’s a real strain on our resources, it’s a tremendous waste of taxpayer money…”

That was the second time a false report occurred along with movement on this legislation.

Younkin’s May 4 signing ceremony took place at E.C. Glass High School in Lynchburg. In January, that school went into lockdown for over six hours after a caller reportedly claimed to be armed and intending to harm the principal.

A 14-year-old who doesn’t attend that school was later arrested and charged with use of profane, threatening, or indecent language over the telephone.

As that incident was occurring, Delegate Wendall Walker was in Richmond introducing HB 1572 during the General Assembly, WSLS 10 News reported.


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